Fodor's Expert Review Qasr Ibrim

Lake Nasser Ruins

Once strategically placed on a headland high above the Nile, this ancient fortress is now at water level, trapped on an island by rising lake waters that are the result of the Aswan High Dam. Thanks to its once lofty position, Qasr Ibrim is the area's only ancient monument still in its original location, and archaeological work is ongoing.

Thought to have been constructed during the Middle Kingdom (2130–1649 BC), the structure had religious as well as military significance. Shrines were built to Horus, Hathor, and local gods of the First Cataract, and the worship of traditional Egyptian deities held on here well into the era of Christianity. Eventually, some of the temples were dismantled or converted into churches, and pilgrims recorded their journey by carving footprints into the rock. Note that the site is closed to visitors except for those taking Lake Nasser cruises, which stop here for a 15-minute photo op.

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