Africa begins in Aswan
With the scenery opening outside the window of our train, he gradually disappeared by the Egypt, to which I managed to look at the time of numerous trips along this ancient land. But at the entrance to Asuan, where the railway, stretching almost across the country, began, began and at all the landscape began. Here I was waiting for a meeting with antiquities.
The Nile Valley, on which 700 kilometers carried our train, narrowed sharply. The desert from both sides came to the river, the tester neatly disappeared by the squares of the boxes and palm groves. Flexible branches are inclined to almost the land, causing associations with Russian scuffs.
On the slopes of low, weathered mountains are shaking, filled with each other, global, and sometimes stone houses, similar to match boxes. When construction, they were painted in white, reflective the sun, but the whitewashes got out of time, exposing uneven masonry. Someone on flat roofs stick out satellite plates. They, and even the rails and the power lines from the Asuang HPP, seem to be the only signs of modern civilization in these places.
Most of the population of KOM-MEOM and Aswan are nubice, noticeably distinguished by dark, almost chocolate color of the skin and expressly pronounced African features of persons. Women walk in black clothes consisting of free dresses up to the pee, head headscarf and shawl, in which they are planted, leaving open only face and brush hands open. Nubians moved to Aswan during the construction of a high-altitude dam, differ and imperturbable temper. By the way, this is one of the few in Egypt, where they do not ask "baksheesh". Nubian will be silent to wait until it is given – if, of course, it will be deemed necessary. But no means no.
Calm, you can say, sleepy Aswan, spread on the eastern bank of the Nile, you can walk on foot. The city is surprisingly cozy and in its own way. At home in six floors are considered skyscrapers. The only exception is the hotel located on Elefantin Island "Obero". The architect obviously wanted to portray modern – it turned out something that resembles an explosion to the explosion. This building is noticeably spoiled "Elephant Islands", Where in antiquity there was Siena – the administrative center of the First Upper Egyptian Nome (region).
The main means of crossing the nearest Nile or on the island – motor boats and sailing festivals. With their help, you can get to the temples of the Nubian god Mandulis and Isis on the island of fillet, to the dilapidated tombs of nobility of the ancient and middle kingdoms, the monastery of St. Simeon and Mausoleum Aga Khan III. Until the latter, you need to go and on the camel, if you are not afraid to turn the neck. Main detail of suburban landscapes – stone careers, where limestone and Ashansky granite were mined. One of them preserved a 1200-ton unfinished obelisk with a claim for a record height – 42 meters. It was obviously gathered to be taken into the hair (modern Luxor), but since in the process of processing, he cracked in several places, the workpiece was left in the career.
All nature in Aswan is not a man. The feeling is clearly deceptive – how – in no way two dams, Neal, who changed the bed, artificial lake Nasser. But still the water here is the colors of water, and not "Table Mendeleev". Seagulls catch fish. With a scream, by the way, rather nasty, Ibis are flying – the sacred birds of the God of wisdom Tota. On the island of Kitchener, called by the name of the English Consul in Egypt, the participant of the Sudanese campaign of 1898, broke a botanical garden, where the rarest samples of the African Flora are collected. On the weekend go there is hardly all population of aswan.
I carry an elephant. The size of the palm, he prudently raised a trunk, as if convening relatives. The fragrant tree from which the figure is sharpened, spreads spicy smells of sandals and herbs savanna. The smell of Africa. To her – hand.
The ruins of the temple of Khnum, the whole area of nonsense of the identification of stones and several inscriptions of the seasons XVIII – XXVI dynasties (1314 – 666 BC) on coastal blocks – that’s all that remained from Siena, once the largest center of Nubian trading in gold, spices , expensive ebony and ivory.
Everything "southern" Temples – relatively late, mostly times Ptolemyev (314 – 44 years BC), and, therefore, well-preserved. To the ruins of the carnac or Luxor to imagine how everything should look initially, you need to strain fantasy. In Asoune, it can be seen.
Comparatively not far from him, in the provincial town of iduh is the temple of the choir – the only sanctuary that has been preserved in the original form. According to the ancient Egyptian mythology, it is here "At the beginning of time" The God of the Sun – the Sokol-Choir of the Nedola defeated the god of the Western Desert Sketch and dismissed the Osiris killed by him, his father. In one of the side attacks of the temple every year the sacrament of the birth of the Divine. Egyptians came here to pray for children.
Mention of the temple in the IDFU is contained, in particular, in the documents of Tutamos III (1505 – 1450 BC). With it, here from the denders, which is lower by the course of the Nile, transferred the statue of the divine wife of the choir – Hamator, and since that time in the temple they began to honor them both. One of the main ceremonies was the rite of divine marriage of the son of Osiris with the daughter of. Archaeologists managed to detect the residues of pylons built at the first frames – they found on them with the names of the representatives of the glorious XIX dynasty (1314 – 1200 BC).
The majestic and strict temple has come down to this day began to raise with Ptolemae III Evergue. Even the date of bookmarks of the first stone is known – August 23, 237 to our era. The same sanctuary was completed later for two centuries.
The time was not domineering over the temple considered the second largest after the Karnak complex. With a thorough inspection, I managed to detect only minor damage. Slightly suffered the upper part of the left tower of the main pilon, fell and crashed under the severity of the collapsed beam one of the statues of the choir in front of the entrance to the first hypostyle hall. Places shot down reliefs, on some columns Slots of the petals of capitals. Everything.
Partial explanation of this fact can be found in the sketches of European travelers who visited Egypt in the XIX century. The temple was almost completely listed. The yard and halls are covered by the most capitals. V "Slots" people settled between the sand and the ceiling. It was them that was first found in 1860 by the Frenchman Auguste Mariett, the keeper of the Egyptian collection of the Louvre, one of the most fortunate archaeologists of his time and the founder of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Before the start of the excavations of people had to be identified, to demolish about hundreds of houses that stood right on the future, and at the same time to repair the threatened roof.
Even survived "Holy Saints" Temple, where only the priests of higher gravis had the right, – Altar, where sacrifices were committed and where God went. Fragment survived in one of the halls "Solar turkey" or "Golden Barka". Egyptians believed that it was on her God-Sun makes her daily path in the sky from the east to the West. Her earth layout was carried out during the main temple ceremonies.
The preservation of the altar part of the temple is a rarity for Egyptian archeology. The first Christians did not turn him into church, as it often happened. In particular, it is such fate who suffered the temple of Isis on the island of fillets, which turned out to be in the center of world attention during an operation to rescue it from flooding during the construction of the high-altitude Asuan dam. But about this below.
In antiquity, any pious Egyptian, wanting to secure eternal life after death, had to make several pilgrimages to the most revered temples. One of them was in the first Upper Egyptian number on the island of Pilac or, in Greek gear, fillet. It is in these places, according to legends, the goddess of Isis, a wandering on Egypt and collecting parts of his killed husband, found the heart of Osiris. And although the main shrine associated with the Lord of the underground kingdom was not here, and in the sacred Abidos, much lower in the course of the Nile, thousands of pilgrims came to the temple on the pilkey every year.
The main part of that complex that can be seen now belongs to the era of Ptolemyev. The cult of Isis has existed safely here until the VI century, when Justinian’s Emperor is all "pagan" The gods were declared idols, and the priests are dispersed.
The temple was adapted for the Church. On the surviving granite altar, the impressive sizes of the Coptic cross. The same symbol is shoved in the altar part over the hieroglyphic inscriptions to the glory of the ancient goddess. Relief images of her and other gods "Osiraic cycle" Stesany and shot down by fighters with idolatry, who fought in the former gods.
And yet, the temple of Isids was lucky: in antiquity it was not ruined, and in the 20th century they were not drowned. True, in the past it almost happened. After the construction of the British in 1898, the old Asuan dam, the temple was half rushed under the water. Until now, on its walls you can see blackened traces of flooding.
The memory of this event helped prevent even more trouble. When in the 60s of the last century, the Soviet Union began to design for Egypt a new high-altitude dam in Aswan, over the temple hung the threat of complete death. Conscious of this, Cairo and Moscow, who carried out this grand construction, appealed to UNESCO headquarters with a request to help in the preservation of Egyptian antiquities that could go under water.
From 1972 to 1980, colossal work was done. All the facilities standing on the fillet – the temple of Isis, Nectanba Pavilions I and Traraan, as well as the small sanctuary of the Hattle Time Ptolemy VI, – disassembled the blocks and carefully moved 500 meters to the side. Here, on the next, higher island of Agilka, the ancient buildings were collected "back". And the Agilka, the new resort of the temple, was given the appearance of fillet. And now only the lump of stones sticking out of the water reminds of the former topography.
Everything "southern" Temples are of particular interest for lovers of comparative study of the styles of the ancient Egyptian art. Instead of calm and strict monumentality "Archaika" Ancient reliefs of Sakkara or the violent and majestic luxury of multifigure compositions of the new kingdom Here, the look opens something completely different.
An Hellenistic Fine Tradition, the influence of which was felt at ptolomeses, as you know, distinguished increased interest in the plastic of the human body. According to the ancient canon, it should be perfect. The imposition of these aesthetic requirements for Egyptian forms has given a very interesting effect. No, no artistic symbiosis like the god of the choir, frozen in the pose "Discompol", Of course, it did not appear: the ancient Egyptians were people with taste.
At the same time, no sculptor or rapid times, say, a new kingdom, would not need to work out each muscle on the body of Isids, to pour amone-ra ore, femoral or buttock muscles or to give the Divine Mother of the Choir belly as if in the fourth month of pregnancy! Such "Medical realism", with whom you encounter here, badly fit with the image of the Sun God standing nearby, already quite an adult. But it is in memory of distant associations with female figures of the time of Tell-El-Amarna, which prevent the Troyan Nefertiti, was indeed the first beauty of Egypt. In general, the eclecticism is an amateur thing.
Small and rather modest temples of Aswan, his neighbor and distant surroundings can, perhaps disappoint other fans of giantia, who had the opportunity to descend in the pyramid of Heops or wander through the two-kilometer Karnak temple complex in Luxor. And those who, by holding his breath from admiration, looked at the tsaritsa fresco valley in the tomb of Nefertari, his beloved wife Ramses II, will come out of the local tolls for the time of the ancient and middle kingdoms, unnewnly shrugging. What for the sake of fading, semi-slip pictures climbing the steep slope of the island, risking a broken bone?
And was it worth it to drag in such a distance? Stoil. We turned the new page in the ancient book about Egypt.