Trajan's Kiosk

  (Redirected from Hypaethral Temple, Philae)
Trajan's Kiosk on Agilika island
The Hypaethral Temple, Philae, by Francis Frith, 1857; from the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland.
Kiosk in 1854 by John Beasley Greene
Kiosk in December, 1839, Pierre-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière

Trajan's Kiosk is a hypaethral temple located on Agilkia Island in Old Aswan Dam reservoir, southern Egypt. One of the largest Ancient Egyptian monuments standing today, it is conventionally attributed to the Roman emperor Trajan,[1] who gave it its current decorations, though some experts think the structure itself may be older, possibly dating to the time of Augustus.[2][3] The edifice was originally built on the island of Philae, near the lower Aswan Dam, and served as the main entrance from the river Nile[4]. However, it was later transported to Agilika in the 1960s by UNESCO to save it from being enveloped by the rising waters of the Nile due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam.

This 15-x-20 metre kiosk is 15.85 metres high; its function was likely "to shelter the bark of Isis at the eastern banks" of Philae island.[3] Its four by five columns each carry "different, lavishly structured composite capitals that are topped by 2.10-metre-high piers" and were originally "intended to be sculpted into Bes piers, similar to the birthhouses of Philae, Armant, and Dendera though this decoration was never completed.[3]

The structure is today roofless,[5] but sockets within the structure's architraves suggest that its roof, which was made of timber, was indeed constructed in ancient times.[3] Three 12.50-metre-long, presumably triangulated trusses, "which were inserted into a ledge at the back of stone architecture, carried the slightly vaulted roof."[3] All the fourteen columns are connected by a screening wall, with entrances in the eastern and western facades[4]. This building represents an example of the unusual combination of wood and stone in the same architectural structure for an Egyptian temple.[3] The attribution to Emperor Trajan is based on a carving inside the kiosk structure, depicting the emperor burning incense before Osiris and Isis.[4]


  1. ^ Rutherford, Ian (1998). "Island of the Extremity: Space, Language, and Power in the Pilgrimage Traditions of Philae". In Frankfurter, David (ed.). Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt. Boston: Brill. p. 233.
  2. ^ Redford, Donald, ed. (2001). "Philae". The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. 3. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 43. ISBN 0-19-513823-6.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Arnold, Dieter (1999). Temples of the Last Pharaohs. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 235-236. ISBN 0-19-512633-5.
  4. ^ a b c "Trajan's Kiosk". MadainProject. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  5. ^ Elsner, Jaś (1998). Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph: The Art of the Roman Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 134.

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Coordinates: 24°01′30″N 32°53′05″E / 24.0251°N 32.8846°E / 24.0251; 32.8846