Trajan's Kiosk

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Trajan's Kiosk (كشك تراجان), locally known as the Pharaoh's Bed (سرير فرعون), is a hypaethral temple located on Agilkia Island in Old Aswan Dam reservoir, southern Egypt. The Trajan's Kiosk was certainly the icon of Philae Island, the structure most associated by people with the island. It is a beautiful structure of 14 massive columns with carved floral capitals, but simple in its design. Inside are reliefs showing Trajan as a pharaoh making offerings to Osiris, Isis and Horus. The Emperor Trajan lived around 100 CE.


The Kiosk of Trajan originally served as the main entrance into the temple from the river. It is one of the largest Ancient Egyptian monuments standing today, it is conventionally attributed to the Roman emperor Trajan, who gave it its current decorations, though some experts think the structure itself may be older, possibly dating to the time of Augustus. Inside are reliefs showing Trajan as a pharaoh making offerings to Osiris, Isis and Horus.

circa 1279 BCE

The edifice was originally built on the island of Philae, near the lower Aswan Dam. However, it was later transported to Agilika in the 1960s by UNESCO to save it from being enveloped by the rising waters of the Nile due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam.


circa 1279 BCE

The fourteen columns of the Trajan's Kiosk are connected by screening walls, containing the (peek outside) hieroglaphic inscritptions and other carvings. Thought the structure was left unfinished, the only completed reliefs showing Emperor Trajan burning incense before Osiris and Isis.

circa 1279 BCE

The kiosk has 14 massive columns with carved floral capitals (inspect). The capitals of the plant columns were intended to be surmounted by sistrum (which was never completed) (a percussion instrument that become a representative cult object of Hathor) capitals. The entry to the Roman structure is through two doorways, one from the east and one from the west.

circa 1279 BCE

The structure is today roofless, but sockets within the structure's architraves suggest that its roof, which was made of timber, was indeed constructed in ancient times. Three 12.50-metre-long, presumably triangulated trusses, "which were inserted into a ledge at the back of stone architecture, carried the slightly vaulted roof." This building represents an example of the unusual combination of wood and stone in the same architectural structure for an Egyptian temple.

circa 1279 BCE

It is an open pavilion located on the Nile Shore of Agilkia Island. It was built in II century by Roman Emperor Trajan. Initially it was located together with Isis Temple on the Island of Philae. After constructing of Nile dam the island was flooded. In 1960, to save it from being covered by the waters of Lake Nasser, UNESCO moved the whole temple complex to Agilika Island. The Trojan's Kiosk is one of best preserved structures in the Philae complex

circa 1279 BCE

This 15-x-20 metre kiosk is 15.85 metres high; its function was likely "to shelter the bark of Isis at the eastern banks" of Philae island. Its four by five columns each carry "different, lavishly structured composite capitals (inspect) that are topped by 2.10-metre-high piers" and were originally "intended to be sculpted into Bes piers, similar to the birthhouses of Philae, Armant, and Dendera though this decoration was never completed.

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