Egypt's Amada Temple is the oldest surviving temple in the Nubian region. Construction was started by Pharaoh Thutmose III around 1450 BC; it was moved as part of the Nubian Monuments relocation in the 1960s as a preservation effort from the rising waters of Lake Nasser after dam construction. The site is especially notable for the amazing colors still visible in its well-preserved carvings. Nearby is the Temple of Derr, another relocated temple in the Nubian Monuments corridor. The structure, built by Ramses II, is the only rock-cut temple commissioned by the pharaoh on the east bank of the Nile.
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On High: On the day you sail along Lake Nasser to Amada, there's a quick stop in the lake to see Qasr Ibrim Fortress, which has an 8th-century church built atop its ruins. This spot is the lone ancient site still visible in its original location within Lake Nasser.
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On the Move: When the Aswan High Dam was built between 1960 and 1970, several historically important temples, tombs, and structures in the Nubian region were relocated to higher ground for preservation as subsequent flooding created Lake Nasser. Amada Temple was moved about three miles from its original location in one whole piece on rails instead of cut and moved in pieces like all of the other temples in the region. The reason — its carvings are on a plaster surface that could not be cut without ruining them.
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Indiana Jones Aficianados: Adventurous travelers will like the feel of this two-hour stop — it's as if you've just stepped into history in biblical Egypt. To get ashore, there are small motor boats and wooden planks before landing on desert sands. You'll also find crocodile, scorpion, and cobra handlers eager to have you touch or hold one of the creatures. This will cost you about a buck.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Far Afield: Amada is hot, buggy, and remote with virtually no vendors. The sandy walk to the temple can be rough if you have mobility issues. After visiting Amada Temple, it's a half-mile walk down a path to the next temple. Tip: Pay a dollar to hop onto a donkey cart for a ride, instead.
John Roberts is a New Jersey-based writer for ShermansCruise who worked at The Virginian-Pilot.