To celebrate the Aswan governorate’s regional day, which coincides with the golden jubilee of the construction of the Aswan High Dame, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Ashraf Attia, governor of Aswan, inaugurated Aswan’s Isis Temple after the completion of its restoration work and the development of tourism services, reports Nevine El-Aref.
Iman Zidan, assistant to the minister for the development of museums and archaeological sites, said that explanatory and guide panels and a map of the governorate’s tourist destinations has been installed along with information on precautionary measures to halt the spread of the Covid-19.
In addition to information on the Temple in Arabic and English, a QR code has also been put on the panels installed on site to take visitors to the ministry’s Website for more information.
Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Mustafa Waziri said the restoration work had included restoring the Temple’s floors and columns, cleaning the walls of bird and bat deposits, and installing wire windows to prevent birds from entering.
The inscriptions at the entrance to the shrine were cleaned and soot on the ceiling removed. The paintings were restored and colours strengthened.
During the inauguration, El-Enany thanked the archaeologists and restorers for their efforts in restoring the temple and developing its tourism services. He also thanked all Egyptian archaeologists and restorers for their dedication and ongoing efforts despite the difficult circumstances of the coronavirus crisis.
Their dedication had led to many major archaeological discoveries, in addition to the opening of a large number of important archaeological projects, including the establishment and development of museums and the restoration of archaeological sites in various governorates.
The opening coincided with the visit of the minister to Aswan to launch the initiative Enjoy Winter in Egypt on 15 January from Aswan, the southernmost city in Upper Egypt, and the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
The temple itself was discovered in 1871 and is about 19m long. King Ptolemy III built it to worship the goddess Isis and the gods of Aswan, though its construction was not completed.
It is built of sandstone and has two doors. The main door is crowned with an ornament topped by a winged sun disk. There is a hall with three open rooms, and the eastern wall of the middle room is engraved with scenes of sacrifices.
Zidan told Al-Ahram Weekly that the ministry was carrying out development work on services at museums and archaeological sites in Aswan, as part of its 2020-21 upgrading initiative.
She said that the development work, which began in September 2020, was being carried out in cooperation with the Aswan governorate and the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board in order to promote archaeological and tourist destinations in Aswan in an integrated manner. Cooperation with universities and colleges was also being discussed.
The work to develop services includes the Temples of Philae, Kom Ombo, Isis, Kalabsha, and Abu Simbel, along with the Unfinished Obelisk, the rock inscriptions on Suhail Island, Mount Silsilah, the Nubia Museum, the Crocodile Museum in Kom Ombo and the Aswan Museum.
The work involves developing various services for visitors, such as installing indicative and explanatory panels, developing visitor centres, toilets, sunshades, benches, rubbish bins designed for recycling, and brochures and pamphlets in Arabic and English.
Sites are made accessible for people with special needs through the rehabilitation of paths, booklets in Braille, film translations in visitor centres in sign language, and other services that improve visitor experiences, often done in cooperation with sponsors from the private sector.
Zidan said the idea was to develop visitor services at 20 archaeological sites and museums in various governorates in order to provide better experiences for visitors and the services provided. Various companies and banks were acting as sponsors within the framework of commercial sponsorship regulations approved by the SCA to encourage cooperation with the private sector, she added.