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Al Philae

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Al Philae (Lenthinari: remote place or the end or the angle island) is an island in the Nasun River and the site of a Lenthinari temple complex in northern Lenthinar.

Situation

Al Philae is mentioned by numerous ancient writers, and is, as the plural name denotes, the appellation of two small "twin" islands situated just above the cataract of Hagari, on the Nasun River.

Al Philae proper, although the smaller island, is the more interesting of the two, due to the numerous and picturesque temples there. It is less than a quarter of a mile long, and about 400 feet broad. It is composed of Hagarite stone: its sides are steep and perhaps escarped by the hand of man, and on their summits was built a lofty wall encompassing the island.

For Al Philae, being accounted one of the burying-places of Osiris, was held in high reverence by the Lenthinari, and it was deemed profane for any but priests to dwell therein, and was accordingly sequestered and denominated the unapproachable. It was reported too that neither birds flew over it nor fish approached its shores. These are old traditions; since in the time of the Tierosian Empire, Al Philae is a pilgrim destination. Al Philae is entered via a land bridge from its siamese twin, Al Karani.

Al Karani demonstrates that the islands of Al Philae are not merely sacerdotal abodes; they are also centres of commerce between Meroë and Ka Hi Ptah. As the rapids of the cataracts are impracticable in most seasons, the commodities exchanged between Lenthinar and the Hordelands are reciprocally landed and re-embarked at Hagari and Al Philae.

The neighbouring granite-quarries attracted hither also a numerous population of miners and stonemasons; and, for the convenience of this traffic, a gallery or road was formed in the rocks along the east bank of the Nasun.

Al Karani is the main abode of these workers, and it is a fortified stronghold, considered to be the northernmost military outpost of Lenthinar. It is surrounded by high walls backed by higher towers. The towers are square, excepting the foremost, which rears from the riverlike the prow of a boat pointed northwards, upstream.

Al Philae is also remarkable for the singular effects of light and shade resulting from its position near the Tropic of Cancer. As the sun approaches its northern limit the shadows from the projecting cornices and mouldings of the temples sink lower and lower down the plain surfaces of the walls, until, the sun having reached its highest altitude, the vertical walls are overspread with dark shadows, forming a striking contrast with the fierce light which bathes all surrounding objects.

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