Trajan's Kiosk

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Trajan's Kiosk on Agilika island
The Hypaethral Temple, Philae, by Francis Frith, 1857; from the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland.

Trajan's Kiosk, a hypaethral temple, is one of the largest Ancient Egyptian monuments standing today at the island of Agilkia, which was constructed by the Roman Emperor, Trajan.[1] It was originally built at the island of Philae (near the lower Aswan Dam) but 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.[2] 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,[4] 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."[5] This building represents an example of the unusual combination of wood and stone in the same architectural structure for an Egyptian temple.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ David Frankfurter, Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt, Brill, 1998. p.233.
  2. ^ Dieter Arnold, Temples of the Last Pharaohs, Oxford University Press, 1999. p.235.
  3. ^ a b Arnold, p.235.
  4. ^ Jaś Elsner, Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph: The Art of the Roman Empire, Oxford University Press, 1998. p.134.
  5. ^ Arnold, pp.235-236.
  6. ^ Arnold, p.236.

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