Next to the Pyramids of Giza, The Ramses Abu Simbel Temple Egypt is one of the most visited sites in the world. Amongst the most interesting Pharaonic Temples, and perhaps the most recognized monument of ancient Egypt. Most travelers to Egypt would not consider their visit complete without a visit to this great temple. This is especially the case for those on a Nile cruise. The Abu Simbel temples are two huge rock temples that are located in Nubia , south of Aswan near the Egyptian border with Sudan on the western bank of the Nile, 280 km south of Aswan and consists of two, rock-cut Temples, which both date back to the reign of King Ramses II (1290-1223 BC). This complex is a UNESCO world heritage site. The site is popularly also known as the “Nubian monuments”.
Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae UNESCO World Heritage Site
One of the eight pillars in the main hall of the temple, showing Ramesses as Osiris
Both temples had to be dismantled and physically moved in the 1960’s when the Aswan High Dam was being built due to the raising water of the reservoir (Lake Nasser). Fortunately the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Egyptian government contributed the funds needed to move the temple to higher ground 60 meters up a cliff and 200m back inland, to escape the rising water level or it would have been lost forever. The two Temples were cut in to many pieces, and then they were reconstructed again on a site, this great rescue operation began in June 1964 and finished in September 1968. They were reassembled in the exact same relation to each other and the sun.
This masterpiece of Egyptian architecture, Abu Simbel is a colossal structure, and one amongst the six other rocks built temples during the reign of emperor Ramesses.which is hewn from solid rock, and the front of the main temple (there are two) consists of four huge statues of Rameses the 2nd, each 67 feet high.
Abu Simbel was set of two temples hewn out of rock cliffs and constructed for Ramses 2 and his beautiful and most loved wife, Nefetari.The first Temple was built by King Ramses II and was Dedicated to Ramses 2 and to the God Re-Hor-Akhty, Amon, Ptah.
An earthquake, so long ago it is not known when it occurred, has destroyed one of the statues from the waist up.
The temple’s facade is 35m long and 30m high. The façade dominated by four enormous seated colossi of the King; seated on his throne wearing the double crown, (each over 20 meters or 67 feet high), accompanied by 3 small figures of his wives, daughters and sons flanking his legs. Although one has been damaged since ancient times.
Beneath the legs ofRamses 2, his family members dwarfed by him, are presented in dramatically smaller statues of his mother Muttuy, Queen Nefertari and Prince Amonherkhepshef. The facade is topped by a row of 22 baboons, their arms raised in the air, supposedly worshipping the rising sun.
Above the entrance stands the figure of the falcon headed god Ra -Hor-Akhty, is shown worshipped by flanking images ofRamses 2, while near to the summit of the façade there are number of baboons.
The most remarkable feature of the site is the temple was engineered in such a way that the semi annual phenomenon that takes place on February and October .These two days were believed to be Ramesses birth and coronation dates respectively. Due to the architectural brilliance of the temple, the first rays of the morning sun shine down the entire length of the temple-cave to shine 200 feet inside the temple through the open door , to illuminate the back wall of the innermost shrine on three of the four statues in the sanctuary, and shine on the statues of the four gods seated there.
Today, a daily sound and light show is a highlight to see the Abu Simbel Festival which takes place twice a year in February and October. It’s a breathtaking sight and makes the music, dance and food that accompany the festival pale in comparison.
The place has lovely patches of desert that gives you spectacle of moonlight once the sun sets. A nice place for the family to enjoy ,the long and beautifully dotted shores have the lakes temples on them and the environment here is just amazing.
An Abu Simbel tour because however many temples you see there will not be another to compare to . it is amazing that all those thousands of years ago it was possible to build with such precision and an architectural brilliance. What a sophisticated and advanced civilization. Abu Simbel presents the most familiar image of ancient Egypt to the modern traveler and reader.