Kiosk of Qertassi

Kiosk of Qertassi

The Kiosk of Qertassi is a tiny Roman kiosk with four slender papyrus columns inside and two Hathor columns at the entrance. It is a small but elegant unfinished structure and not inscribed with the architect’s name but is probably contemporary with Trajan’s Kiosk at Philae.

Location of Kiosk of Qertassi

The kiosk of Qertassi is a tiny Roman kiosk dating back to the 1st century AD. It is located south of the Temple of Kalabsha in Aswan Governorate, Egypt. The site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 as part of Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae. Recently, UNESCO relocated this kiosk to the Kalabsha island along with the famous temple of Kalabsha.

History of Kiosk of Qertassi

According to Günther Roeder – the first scholar to publish research on this building – the kiosk of Qertassi dates to the Augustan or early Roman period. The structure “is only twenty-five feet square, and consists of a single Hathor court oriented north or south, and originally surrounded by fourteen columns connected by screen walls.” Of the 14 pillars, only six have survived in place. The pillars or columns were made of brown sandstone; the structure itself was “perhaps connected to a small temple on the East Bank of the Nile which was still in existence in 1813.”

Due to the scarcity of timber in the arid region of Nubia, the kiosk’s roof was constructed with sandstone slabs that were supported by architraves on its long sides. This kiosk has now been moved to the site of New Kalabsha in Southern Egypt but “once stood to the entrance to the sandstone quarries” of Qertassi. Its capitals “are decorated with Hathor heads, in honour of the goddess who was the patron of quarry-men and miners. Hathor was often associated with Isis, as at Philae. Therefore, it has been suggested that this kiosk and the small temples of Dabod and Dendur were way stations on the processional route taken by priests bearing the image of Isis around Lower Nubia, which was held to be her estate.