Kalabsha Temple in Aswan Egypt | Facts Pharaonic Temple | The Temple of Mandulis Inscriptions, Architectural Design, layout…

Kalabsha temple is one of the best Pharaonic temples of Aswan in Egypt. The temple of Kalabsha in Aswan is the second largest Pharaonic temple in Nubia and it gives a perfect idea of Egyptian History during the Roman Era, Art, and Architecture in the Greco-Roman Era.

In this article we will explain the importance of the site of the Kalabsha temple since antiquity and why it was chosen for building the temple.

Kalabsha Temple in Aswan Egypt

What is the meaning of Kalabsha?

The word Kalabsha was Tlms in the Ancient Egyptian language

In Coptic was Talmees

Greek was Tlmis

Arabic is Bab Al Kalabsha means the Gate of Kalabsha

where is the temple of Kalabsha located?

The temple of Kalabsha is a Pharaonic temple built in the Roman era on the west bank of the Nile River in Nubia, South of the High Dam, Lake Nasser, Egypt.

How to get to Kalabsha temple Aswan Egypt?

It is easy to get to Kalabsha temple whether from Luxor, Aswan, Marsa Alam, and Nile Cruise.

From Luxor

Kalabsha temple is 750m from the High Dam Aswan and the distance between Aswan and Luxor is about 300km, so, it takes more than three hours to drive from Luxor to High Dam. To get to Kalabsha temple, you have to take a motorboat like Philae temple or a water taxi and more Things to do in Luxor.

From Aswan

Aswan is 17 KM to the north of Kalabsha temple and it takes around half an hour to get from Aswan to Kalabsha.

From Nile Cruise

Whether you do your Nile Cruise Luxor Aswan or from Aswan to Luxor, Kalabsha temple is 45 minutes maximum from any Nile cruise boat.

From Marsa Alam

The distance from Marsa Alam to Kalabsha temple is 375 and takes around 6 hours of driving.

What was the Kalabsha Temple Aswan Egypt used for?

Kalabsha temple, Temple of Philae, Kom Ombo Temple, and Edfu temple like all the Pharaonic temples considered the house of Gods, the place where people can worship them. So, the Kalabsha temple was built for the triad of Nubia, Mandulis, Mandulis the Child, and Wadjet of lower Egypt.

Kalabsha temple Facts | The Temple of Mandulis

  1. Kalabsha temple is the second biggest rescued temple in Nubia after the Abu Simbel temples.
  2. The temple of Kalabsha is located on the west bank of the Nile River, 750 far from the High Dam.
  3. There are other sites nearby nowadays like the temple of Beit El Wali, Temple of Jarf Hussein, and Chapelle de Kertassi
  4. Kalabsha temple is an Egyptian Pharaonic temple built during the Thutmosis III or Amenhotep II, enlarged by the Ptolemaic Dynasty, and Emperor Augustus completely rebuilt the temple in its current form.
  5. Like Philae temple, Kalabsha temple was submerged underwater after building the High Dam but it was saved and relocated later by UNESCO.
  6. When they relocated the temple of Mandulis in 1970 to save it from the rising water of Lake Nasser, they cut it into 130000 blocks

More Facts About Kalabsha Temple Aswan Egypt

  1. The temple of Mandulis is the largest free-standing temple in Nubia.
  2. As all the Egyptian Pharaonic temples, the Kalabsha temple was built on the same site as an older temple
  3. The temple of Kalabsha is now in the utmost southern part of Egypt on an island on Lake Nasser
  4. Part of the temple was converted into Church used by the persecuted Christian in the Roman Era
  5. Edfu temple measures 74 meters long by 33 meters wide and 9.7 meters high
  6. There is a Nilometer that connects Kalabsha temple to the River Nile to measure the water level of the Nile
  7. Twice a year, the phenomenon of perpendicular sunshine on the temple’s sanctuary occurs, on February 14 and October 29.
  8. Mandulis temple is huge but unfinished

How long did it take to build the Temple of Kalabsha?

  1. Built over the course of a few years. The temple of Kalabsha, also the temple of Mandulis was built at the end of the Ptolemaic Period till the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus Octavius. Kalabsha temple was one of the largest temples in Nubia, Egypt.
  2. The original temple in Kalabsha was started by Egyptian Pharoah Thutmosis III.
  3. Pharoah Amenophis II added parts to the Thutmosis temple
  4. The kings of the Ptolemaic dynasty built the columns of the Great Hall.
  5. The Kalabsha temple now was finished by Roman Emperor Augustus
  6. The Roman Emperor Gaius made drawings and inscriptions on the lintel of the door of the main entrance.

What is the Temple of Kalabsha made of?

The temple of Kalabsha like most of the Pharaonic temples in Nubia built out of Sandstone blocks.

New Kalabsha temples

The New Kalabsha Island is located south of the High Dam of Aswan and it houses 4 relocated temples built in Ancient Nubia they suffered from the rise of water 9 months years after building the Aswan Dam. The Island has 4 Nubian temples and the most important is the Kalabsha temple.

  1. The Kalabsha temple Aswan Egypt(Also Mandulis temple)
  2. Beit el-wali
  3. Temple of Gerf Hussein
  4. Kiosk of Kertassi

Kalabsha Temple Architectural Design | Mandulis temple layout

  1. Causeway connects the temple to the river Nile
  2. First Pylon, the original overall height of the Pylon was probably 16.25m
  3. An entrance to 6 rooms, 3 rooms on each side behind the Pylon
  4. Colonnade Court 29m*19m with 14 columns
  5. Hypostyle Hall
  6. Two Pronaos rooms with two columns each
  7. Sanctuary where statues of gods were located,
  8. Staircase to the temple roof
  9. Mammisi where the sacred birth of the Pharaoh is venerated
  10. Nilometer
  11. Enclosure Wall
  12. Outer enclosure wall
  13. Ptolemaic Chapel (Earlier temple)

Relocating Kalabsha Temple

Egypt built the Old Dan or Aswan Dam in Aswan to control the yearly flood of the Nile but as a direct result, many Nubian temples submerged underwater for 9 months yearly. In 1959, UNESCO started the first major step of saving Nubian temples by calling for recommendations.

In 1963, the mission of saving Kalabsha temple started by dismantling the temple and numbering the blocks and moving them from the walls. Thus, the Numbering blocks were 13 000 blocks and a total of 20 000 tons of stone were dismantled and stored.

They succeeded to relocate the temple on New Kalabsha Island in 1970 about 750m to the south of Aswan High Dam.

Detailed Description of the Temple of Kalabsha


If you are not a normal tourist and you would like to explore one of the top Aswan tourist Attractions and An Aswan Gem, So Kalabsha temple is your destination. Kalabsha temple is included in all the Lake Nasser Cruises programs but if you are in Aswan in Normal Nile Cruise, or Aswan Day Tours you can enjoy a short motorboat ride to the temple.

The ascending causeway is 30 meters long and 8 meters wide connecting Lake Nasser to the Kalabsha Temple.

Pylon of Kalabsha temple

  1. Like Karnak temple or Philae temple, the Pylon consists of two gates and the entrance in between. The original height of the Pylon was probably 16.25m but now is 9.7m*5.8m wide.
  2. At the top of the entrance are the winged sun and the copra symbol of protection.
  3. Under the winged sun, there is graffiti for the god Horus setting but no date or inscription
  4. There is a scene for the Nubian God Mandulis and in front of him, the Emperor August, no scene for August but his name in the cartouche is still there.
  5. On the other side, we suppose to see the same scene, God Mandulis still there but the emperor is not there

Scenes at the back of the entrance

  1. Two figures for God Mandulis standing in front of each other
  2. The emperor standing in front of Osiris and Horus
  3. From the very left of the scene, two goddesses of the fields and the King in front of them holding the Mandulis the child in front of ISIS
  4. The emperor offers Maat to Isis and takes the title PR CA, double crown means the great king
  5. The king burn incense in front of Osiris
  6. ISIS offers the Key of Life to the child Mandulis
Colonnade Court

The colonnade measures 29m long *19m wide with 14 columns on 3 sides. No important scenes in here except a few on the screen walls lead to the Hypostyle Hall.

Screen walls
  1. The Roman Emperor August offers Mandulis some offerings, Mandulis figure is broken except for the head with a nice necklace
  2. The Roman Emperor August offers ISIS something is not clear asking for her protection
  3. The column between the two screens has two lines of Hieroglyphics writing with empty cartouche
  4. Coronation scene for a king known as PR CA between Horus and Ibis in front of Horus, Son of Isis
North side of the screens wall
  1. Mandulis the child with the hair lock, behind him ISIS, and in front of them the King. Only his hand is there
  2. Scene of the column between the walls with a text talking about the victory of Silko, the Nobatian king defeated the Blemmyes to the North and drove them to the eastern desert.
  3. Two gods with Atef crowns
  4. August standing in front of the Mandulis the child and above him is the protected falcon and there is graffiti for a horse and horse rider on it

The entrance to the Hypostyle Hall

Left Side
  1. ISIS in front of Mer Wer Mandulis
  2. ISIS and Mer wer standing in front of each other
  3. Horus, son of Isis in front of her standing
  4. Rennewi, one of Osiris’s figures holding a falcon with the crown of lower Egypt.
Right Side
  1. ISIS in front of Mer Wer Mandulis
  2. ISIS and Mer wer standing in front of each other
  3. Osiris and Wadjet in front of each other
  4. Rennewi, one of Osiris’s figures holding a falcon with the crown of Upper Egypt.

Hypostyle Hall (Wskht Cat)

The Hypostyle Hall measures 20m*30m and 12.6m in Height. The Hall is divided into the East wall and West Wall

The West wall is divided into South Part and North Part

South Part
  1. The King offers the double crown to Mandulis and Horus Behdety
  2. The King offers Maat to Hathor and Harpocrates (God of silence in the Hellenistic religion), and there is a representation of a Sphinx with a Human head
  3. Ptolemy V Epiphanes or Ptolemy X Alexander I offers the fields to Horus and Mandulis
  4. The oldest scene on Kalabsha temple for Amenhotep II in front of Amun Min and behind him Mandulis.
  5. The King offers The Eye of Horus to God Osiris with Atef crown and Goddess ISIS feeding Horus and behind her the Mandulis of Nubia.
  6. The King offers the sign of Fields to Mandulis and ISIS with a very beautiful dress
  7. Horus offers the Maat to Harpocrates with Mandulis crown and behind him Mandulis and a third unknown god
  8. The King in front of ISIS and Mandulis then in front of Pa Mer Wer or the spirit of Mandulis
North Part
  1. The King smiting an enemy in front of Horus, God Shu and Goddess Tefnut
  2. The King is burning incense in front of Mandulis and Wadjet
  3. The King in front of Osiris and Mandulis and behind him the goddess of fields (Sekht Netert)
  4. Mandulis is set between Horus and ISIS giving him the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt
  5. The King in front of Amun, Thoth, and Khonsu
  6. The King offers a piece of cloth to Mandulis the child and Hathor
  7. The king in front of the Pa of Mandulis

The Architrave

  1. Emperor Trajan in front of Mandulis then the head of ISIS and the crown of Osiris
  2. On the other side, (right) of the architrave king PR CA, the name is not known offering Eye of Horus to Mandulis and Wadjet
  3. The two sides of the entrance have some scenes like the one before 4 scenes on each side
Left Side
  1. ISIS in front of Mer Wer Mandulis
  2. ISIS and Mer wer standing in front of each other
  3. Horus, son of Isis in front of her standing
  4. Rennewi, one of Osiris’s figures holding a falcon with the crown of lower Egypt
Right Side
  1. ISIS in front of Mer Wer Mandulis
  2. ISIS and Mer wer standing in front of each other
  3. Osiris and Wadjet in front of each other
  4. Rennewi, one of Osiris’s figures holding a falcon with the crown of Upper Egypt

The Hall of the Ennead

The floor is higher than the next two and it measures 10.5.8m and the height is 7.2m. The scenes are as follows

North Wall (right side)

  1. Emperor Trajan offers Nu Jars to Mandulis and Oils to Mandulis and Wadjet
  2. The king burning incense in front of Mandulis and Milk in front of Mandulis and Wadjet
  3. God Amun and God Atum join the King to the triad of Kalabsha God Mandulis, Mandulis the child, and Wadjet
  4. The Nile Gods and Upper Egypt figures
  5. The King is raising the sky in front of God Ptah, Goddess Sekhmet, and God Mandulis instead of Nefertum
  6. The King is offering the Maat to Djehuty (Thoth) and his wife Nehmet Awy, and Mandulis
  7. The King is offering Lettuce to Amun Min, Isis, and Mandulis
  8. An unfinished scene for Mandulis and Wadjet
  9. Emperor August standing in a ritual way and in front of him is the SEM priest
  10. The next scene is a purification scene between Horus and Though
  11. Coronation scene for the king between Nekhbet and Wadjet
  12. The Nile Gods
  13. The emperor burn incense in front of Mandulis and Wadjet
  14. The King offers two jars of milk to Mandulis (Jarket=milk)
  15. The representation of Egypt Nomes including Beni Hassan (Egyptian (Oryx) nome) and Hermopolis Magna, modern Al-Ashmūnayn
  16. Trajan and the gods like God Osiris, Isis, and Mandulis
  17. The King offers a lot of offerings to Osiris win nefer, Isisi, and Horus (a triad of Philae)

South Part

  1. The King is burning incense in front of Osiris, Isis, and Horus
  2. The king offers the fields to Isis and Mandulis the child
  3. In similar scenes for the king burning the incense to Isis, the child Mandulis
  4. Montu joins the king with Mandulis the child to receive the double crown from Nekhbet and Wadjet
  5. The representations of the Upper Egypt Nomes
  6. The king offers the Nu Jars to Ra Horakhty and Hathor

Offering Hall (Wsht Hetbu)

It measures 10m*5.5m with a height of 7.5 m.

  1. Trajan in front of Osiris, Isisi, and Horus
  2. The King is burning incense in front of Imhotep
  3. The Roman emperor offers sacrifices in front of Mandulis and Wadjet
  4. An interesting scene for the God Toto
  5. The king in front of Mandulis and Amun Nabata, the god of Nabata
  6. Again, in front of Thoth and Mandulis
  7. The King in front of Arisnophis and Tefnut
  8. One more time, the king in front of Arisnophis and Mandulis
  9. The King in front of God Khnum and Goddess Satet
  10. Offering scene in front of two figures of Amun in Nubia
  11. Emperor offers nu Jars in front of Mandulis and Mandulis the child
  12. The emperor purifies the sacrifices once in front of Mandulis the child and once in front of the father and the son
  13. The King takes all goods of the Nile Nomes and offers them to Mandulis, Wadjet, and the child


  1. The emperor August and behind him, a female figure who could be his wife offer offerings to
  2. August receives the Ankh and the Was from Osiris, Isis, and Horus
  3. The emperor in general offers many gods all king offerings to Mandulis, Wadjet, Isis, Mandulis the child.

The Outer wall

  1. Amazing coronation scene for the king under the protection of the winged Horus in front of Mandulis. The God Mandulis here with the crown and the hair lock of the child
  2. Osiris, Isis, and Horus receive the offering
  3. Graffiti for the BA of Mandulis
  4. The rest of the scenes remind us of the scenes of the Dendera temple from outside


The original Mammisi of Kalabsha temple is still in its original place because it was inside in the mountain

Stone Blocks

We found 100 stone blocks and they recollected them and it dates back to Ptolemy IX Soter II.

Kalabsha Gate

250 blocks of stone make what’s called Kalabsha Gate and now it is in Berlin Museum in German.

Opening Hours 

Kalabsha temple is open daily from 09.00 am to 17.00 pm.

Ticket Price

You can purchase an Entrance ticket for Kalabsha Temple from the Ticket window which is next to the entrance of the temple.

Adult: EGP 100 (5.2 $)

Students with valid cards: EGP (2.7 $)

Children aged 6-12 years: EGP (2.7 $)

Children under 6 years: FREE

Finally, Kalabsha temple is one of the best things to do in Aswan while you enjoy your Aswan Day Tours as part of your program.

Egypt Goota Travel including the temple in all the programs of the Lake Nasser Cruises, Aswan Day Tours and Nile Cruises Luxor Aswan or Nile Cruises Aswan Luxor.