to Kalabsheh. TAFEH. 45. Route. 355
Tothe S. is aRomanFort, with a girdle-wall of largehewn stones,
the inner core of which has disappeared, leaving only the two facing
walls. On the W. side we may trace the ancient ditch. Within the
walls is a Nubian village. Between the temple and the fort are ex¬
tensive *Sandstone Quarries, which yielded the stone for the temples
at Philas, and which contain over 50 Greek votive inscriptions (and
one demotic) dating from the Roman imperial epoch (Septimius
Severus, Caracalla to Gordian). There are also two busts and a care¬
fully constructed niche, with the winged sun-disc above it. Among
the deities worshipped here were Isis and also a goddess named
Sruptikhis and a god named Pursepmunis, probably native Ethiopian
gods. Immediately to the S. of these inscriptions is an ancient
On the right (W.) bank lies the considerable village of Umm-
4Y2M. (W. bank) Tafeh occupies the site of Taphis, mentioned
in the Itinerarium Antonini. Beneath the umbrageous sycamore
trees on the river-bank are the remains of a small quay, on the S.
side of which is a small Nilometer. Of the two temples that for¬
merly stood here only one (of the Roman period) now exists, at the
N.E. end of the village. The entrance faces the S. The facade is
supported by two columns with floral capitals. Its only sculptured
ornament is the winged sun-disc above the central door (closed).
Adjoining is a smaller door. In the interior of the temple are four
standing columns, with tastefully carved capitals; the walls had not
yet received their sculptural ornaments. To the N. are the remains
of some large structures. — At the foot of the mountains to the S.
of the village, not far from the river, are some scanty remains of
enclosures and the angle of a wall, in which perhaps are to be
identified the traces of the other and larger temple, which was still
standing in 1870. To the W. is a Mohammedan cemetery of an
early period, in which Coptic gravestones also occur. On the hill
above is a castellated building. On the opposite (E.) bank lay the
fort of Contra Taphis, which has left no remains of importance.
Beyond Tafeh the dark shining rocks advance close to the river-
bank, forming a gloomy gorge, known as Bdb el-Kalabsheh, in the
middle of which, on the island to the E., are some deserted Nubian
villages, with plantations of palms. The navigation of this reach is
somewhat dangerous, owing to the frequent bends of the river and
the numerous islands. On the right (W.), beyond the gorge, ap¬
pears the large —
7 M. Temple of Kalabsheh, situated a little below the tropic of
Cancer (N. lat. 23°"31' 3"). The magnificent constellation of the
Southern Cross may be seen hence onwards (best between 2 and 4
a.m. in Jan. and Feb.). Cook's tourist-steamer halts here for 2 hrs.
on the return-voyage.