Kiosk Of Kertassi – An Ancient Roman Relic Saved From Destruction

When the Aswan High Dam was built, it created the world’s largest manmade lake, Lake Nasser, and many ancient sites were at risk, including the Kiosk of Kertassi.

Kiosk of Kertassi, Lake Nasser

Kiosk of Kertassi, Lake Nasser.

Egypt at one stage found itself in an extremely vulnerable position with regards to water shortages, and the only possible solution was to create a new dam. The Aswan High Dam was subsequently built, and this created what is today known as Lake Nasser, the world’s largest manmade lake.

As the waters began to rise, it became apparent that several ancient historical sites would soon be lost. The Egyptian government, with assistance from the international community, immediately set about trying to rescue many of these sites, and it should be said that their efforts were incredibly successful.

The Rescued Sites Of Lake Nasser

Those who sail the waters of Lake Nasser in the area around Aswan soon discover that many of the major attractions seen today have actually been relocated from their original locations. The most popular such attraction is Abu Simbel, but there are a handful of other buildings and temples that were lovingly relocated to spare them from destruction when the Aswan High Dam flooded the area that is now Lake Nasser. One such site is the lovely Kiosk of Kertassi.

Although the Kiosk of Kertassi is generally considered to be a “tiny” Roman construction, it is still very impressive, and most certainly worth a visit. It was once located at the gates of the Kertassi sandstone quarries, and this explains the presence of distinctly Egyptian symbols and decorations that cover the pillars and remaining walls.

A Brief History Of Kertassi

Most scholars these days believe that the “Hathor heads” that feature on the top of the six remaining columns (there were originally 14) were there to serve as patron saints for the workers in the quarry.

There are also many scholars who believe that this Kiosk of Kertassi was part of a processional route used by those who worshiped Isis, and who bore her image to other similar kiosks and temples, including the Temple of Philae, Dendur, and Dabod.

Unanswered Questions

In truth, historians have never really managed to pinpoint the exact age of the kiosk. What makes the kiosk hard to identify in terms of its specific age and/or era is the simple fact that the Kiosk of Kertassi was never completed, and as a result, it does have any inscription left behind by its architect or creator.

Nonetheless, it has been studied and dated to the early Roman period, and it is believed to have been connected to a smaller temple at one time.

Visiting The Kiosk of Kertassi

Visiting the Kiosk of Kertassi is very easy because it is located at the New Kalabsha site, which is where several major temples and structures were also relocated prior to the flooding of Lake Nasser. For instance, a visit to the kiosk could also include a stop at the Temple of Kalabsha; the Temple of Gerf Hussein; the Temple of Beit el-Wali, and the Temple of Dedwen.

When paying a visit to this lovely ruin, be sure to pay attention to the elegant carvings atop the papyrus columns; the two Hathor columns, and the rather fascinating structure of the roof. Because timber is simply not able to endure in the harsh Nubian climate for extended periods of time, the Kiosk of Kertassi had a ceiling which was made of sandstone slabs, and one still remains in place at the top of the four inner columns.

There is much to see at New Kalabsha, and if you are lucky enough to visit this interesting region near Aswan, you really should make an effort to visit to the Kiosk of Kertassi.

Experience the Best of Egypt

Sailing the waters of Lake Nasser makes for an unforgettable experience, but it’s worth remembering that not all Egypt travel packages include a trip to sites like Kiosk of Kertassi. If dissappointment is something you want to avoid, please be sure to visit Egypt with us.

Not only do we offer the most comprehensive variety of Egypt tours, but we also offer custom Egypt tours which can be tailored specially to your needs and requirements.