The legend that the temple here was covered in gold conveys the strategic importance of this hilltop fortress. As well as ruling over Darb al-Arba'in—the southern gateway to Egypt on the ancient caravan trail to sub-Saharan Africa—the mud-brick Roman fortress probably controlled the Darb al-Dush route to Edfu and Esna in the Nile Valley. The crumbling fortress walls tower 10 meters high in some areas, while underground chambers go down five levels. A temple built of
sandstone by Domitian in the 1st century AD and dedicated to Osiris and Seraphis, abuts the eastern flank of the fortress. The remains of the Roman garrison town of Kysis are scattered over the hillside below.
115 km (75 mi) southeast of Al-Kharga, Al-Kharga, Egypt