Reputed to have been one of the burying places of Osiris, the island of Philae was held sacred by the Egyptians and Nubians, who forbade all but priests to live there. The pillared structure visible on the island is the Kiosk of Trajan, which was built by the Romans. Much of the ancient construction on Philae was moved during the 1960s as it became threatened by the Aswan Low Dam.
Edward Lear visited during his tour of Greece and Egypt from 1848-1849. In addition to his career as an artist and illustrator, Lear was also a musician, author and poet. He was an early popularizer of the limerick who wrote nonsense poems akin to those of Lewis Carroll and Dr. Seuss.