In between Edfu and Kom Ombo as limestone gives way to sandstone and the river narrows, the ancient quarries of Silsila come into sight. In use from the 16th to the first century BC, the quarries were the source of tonnes of sandstone used in temple building. Convicts were used to cut the huge blocks from the cliffs then they were transported on the Nile to sacred sights around Egypt. You can still see holes carved into the rock where the ancient boats were moored. The cliffs are decorated with graffiti and stelae. Small temples and statues were also carved in the surrounding rock. The cliffs of Silsila are particularly beautiful around sunset. As the cruise boats cannot dock here, felucca travellers get the place to themselves. On the west bank you can visit the colourful Temple of Horemheb (open 0600-1600 winter, 0600-1700 summer, entry into the temple E£25, students E£15) . If you’re on a boat and have the chance to stop, it’s definitely worth exploring, even after hours. For a bit of backsheesh, the guard will show you around. Arriving by land is a bit more of a challenge, it’s really only worth the trek if you have a lot of time and a lot of interest, the closest town is Faris, from there, you will need to take a ferry to west bank where you can hire a private taxi for E£20 to bring you to the temple.
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