Abu Simbel temples Egypt information, tours, prices, booking
Abu Simbel temples situated on the western bank of Nasser’s Lake. It is about 230 km southwest of Aswan (about 300 km by road). In fact, Abu Simbel temples complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Moreover, Abu Simble temples known as the “Nubian Monuments”. They run from Abu Simbel town downriver to Philae (near Aswan). The twin Abu Simbel temples originally carved out of the mountainside. In fact, it was during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II in the 13th century BC. They are the lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari. He built the twin temples to commemorate his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh. Furthermore, he also built them to intimidate his Nubian neighbors.
In fact, Abu Simble temples complex relocated in its entirety in 1968 on an artificial hill. The hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. In fact, the relocation of Abu Simbel temples was necessary. It was to avoid their submerging during the creation of Lake Nasser. In fact, Nasser’s Lake is the massive artificial water reservoir. The lake formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River. Abu Simbel temples remain indeed one of Egypt’s top tourist attractions.
Abu Simbel temples construction:
In fact, the construction of Abu Simbel temples complex started in 1264 BC. Moreover, it lasted for about 20 years, until 1244 BC. “Temple of Ramses, beloved by Amun” was one of six rock temples which erected in Nubia. It was during the long reign of Ramses II. Their purpose was to impress Egypt’s southern neighbors. The other purpose was to reinforce the status of Egyptian religion in the region. Historians say that the design of Abu Simbel temples expresses a measure of ego and pride in Ramses II.
Abu Simbel temples Rediscovery:
With the passage of time, Abu Simbel temples fell into disuse and became covered by sand. In fact, the sand covered the statues of the main temple up to their knees in the 6th century BC. Furthermore, Abu Simbel temples forgotten until 1813. In 1813, the Swiss orientalist Jean-Louis found the top frieze of the main temple. Jean talked about his discovery with Italian explorer Giovanni Belzoni. Giovanni traveled to the site, but was unable to dig out an entry to the temple. In 1817, Giovanni returned and succeeded in his attempt to enter the complex.
In fact, he stole everything that looked valuable and was portable from Abu Simbel temples. Tour guides at the site relate the legend that “Abu Simbel” was a young local boy. The boy guided these early re discoverers to the site of the buried temple. In fact, the temple which he seen from time to time in the shifting sands. Eventually, they named the complex after him.
Abu Simbel temples Relocation:
In 1959, an international donations campaign to save the monuments of Nubia began. The southernmost relics of this ancient human civilization were under threat. In fact, the threat was because of the rising of waters of the Nile . It was due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam. One scheme to save Abu Simbel temples based on an idea by William MacQuitty. In fact, the idea was to build a clear fresh water dam around Abu Simbel temples. It is to keep the water inside at the same height as the Nile. There were to be underwater viewing chambers. In 1962 the idea made into a proposal by architects Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry. It also was by the civil engineer Ove Arup. They considered that raising the temples ignored the effect the erosion of sandstone.
In fact, the erosion of sandstone is by desert winds. However, this elegant proposal rejected. The salvage of the Abu Simbel temples began in 1964. It was by a multinational team of archaeologists and engineers. Moreover, it was also by skilled heavy equipment operators who worked together. In fact, it was under the UNESCO banner. The operation cost was some 40 million dollars at the time. Between 1964 and 1968, the entire site cut into large blocks (up to 30 tons, averaging 20 tons). They dismantled, lifted and reassembled in a new location. The new location is 65 meters higher and 200 meters back from the river. Indeed, the operation was one of the greatest challenges of archaeological engineering in history.
Further details about Abu Simbel temples relocation:
Some structures even saved from under the waters of Nasser’s Lake. Today, thousands of tourists visit Abu Simbel temples daily. Guarded convoys of buses and cars leave twice a day from Aswan, the nearest city. Many visitors also arrive Abu Simble temples by plane. In fact, it is at an airfield which specially constructed for the temples complex. Abu Simble temples complex consists of two temples. The larger one dedicated to Ra-Harakhty and Ptahand Amun. They features four large statues of Ramses II in the facade. The smaller temple dedicated to the goddess Hathor, personified by Nefertari. In fact, she was Ramses’s most beloved of his many wives. The temple is now open to the public.
Abu Simbel temples Great Temple:
In fact, the Great Temple at Abu Simbel temples took about twenty years to build. The temple completed around year 24 of the reign of Ramses the Great (which corresponds to 1265 BC). Moreover, the temples dedicated to the gods Amun, Ra-Horakhty, and Ptah. It also dedicated to the deified Ramses himself. Indeed, it is the most beautiful of the temples which commissioned during the reign of Ramses II. Moreover, the temples features four colossal statues of 20 meter high. The statues are of the pharaoh with the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. They decorate the facade of the temple. which is 35 meters wide. Furthermore, the temple topped by a frieze with 22 baboons and worshipers of the sun. The colossal statues sculptured from the rock in which the temple located before moving.
All statues represent Ramses II who seat on a throne and wear the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. The statue to the left of the entrance damaged in an earthquake. In fact, the lower part of the statue still intact. The head and torso still seen at the statue’s feet. Next to the legs of the colossi, there are other statues no higher than the knees of the pharaoh. They depict Nefertari, Ramses’s chief wife and queen mother Mut-Tuy. The entrance itself crowned by a bas-relief . It represents two images of the king worshiping the falcon-headed Ra Harakhti. The statue of Ra stands in a large niche. This god holds the hieroglyph “user” and a feather in his right hand. He also holds Ma’at, (the goddess of truth and justice) in his left.
More details about the Great temple at Abu Simbel temples:
Furthermore, the facade topped by a row of 22 baboons. Moreover, their arms raised in the air worshiping the rising sun. Another notable feature of the facade is a Stele. The stele records the marriage of Ramses with a daughter of king Hattusili III. In fact, this marriage sealed the peace between Egypt and the Hittites. The inner part of the temple has the a triangular layout. In fact, the ancient Egyptian temples followed the same layout. Moreover, it with rooms decreasing in size from the entrance to the sanctuary. The temple is complex in structure and quite unusual because of its many side chambers.
The Small Temple at Abu Simbel temples:
In fact, the temple of Hathor and Nefertari, also known as the Small Temple. The small temple built about one hundred meters northeast of Ramses II temple. It dedicated to the goddess Hathor and Ramses II’s chief consort, Nefertari. In fact, it was the second time in ancient Egyptian history that a temple dedicated to a queen. The first time, Akhenaten dedicated a temple to his great royal wife, Nefertiti. The rock-cut facade decorated with two groups of colossi. In fact, that separated by the large gateway. The statues are more than ten Abu Simbel temples meters high. They represent of the king and his queen.
On either side of the portal, there are two statues of the king, wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt. They also wear the double crown (north colossus). In fact, these flanked by statues of the queen and the king. The statues of the king and his consort are equal in size. In fact, it is the only time in Egyptian art that statues of a king and his consort are equal. Traditionally, the statues of the queens stood next to those of the pharaoh. In fact, they were never taller than his knees. This exception shows the great importance of Nefertari to Ramses. Ramses, went to Abu Simbel with his beloved wife in the 24th year of his reign.
Further details about the Small Temple at Abu Simbel temples:
As the Great Temple of the king, there are small statues of princes and princesses next to their parents. The plan of the Small Temple is a simplified version of that of the Great Temple. As the larger temple dedicated to the king, the hypo-style hall supported by six pillars. In fact, they are not Osirid pillars depicting the king, but decorated with scenes. The capitals of the pillars bear the face of the goddess Hathor. In fact, this type of column known as Hathoric. The bas-reliefs in the pillared hall illustrate the deification of the king. Moreover, they paint the destruction of his enemies in the north and south.
The hypo-style hall followed by a vestibule and access to which given by three large doors. On the south and the north walls of this chamber there are two graceful and poetic bas-reliefs. The reliefs are of the king and his consort who present papyrus plants to Hathor. In fact Hathor depicted as a cow on a boat sailing in a thicket of papyri. On the west wall, Ramses II and Nefertari depicted while making offerings to god Horus. The rock cut sanctuary and the two side chambers connected to the transverse vestibule. Furthermore, they aligned with the axis of the temple.