The Abu Simbel in Egypt is one of Egypt’s pride when it comes to Ancient tours and Egyptian heritage. Found in Southern Egypt, this sacred temple constructed in 1257 by the Pharaoh Ramses II is a heritage for the Nubian people that live to the western bank of Lake Nasser.
The temples were for decades covered by sweeping Nubian sand dunes until 1813 when they were rediscovered by Burckhardt, a swiss orientalist and later in 1817 by Giovanni Belzoni an archaeologists fascinated by Egyptian Architecture and civilization. The complex is said to have been named after a local guide Abu Simbel who led the early explorers around the temples that were then covered in sand
The Great Abu Simbel Temple
The temples are a set of massive rocks covered out of a mountain as a lasting monument for Ramses and his queen Nefertari to commemorate the victory on the battle of Kadesh. The temple was dedicated to the sun gods Amon-Re and Re-Horakhte. They are popularly refered to as the temples of Ramsses
The great temple of Abu Simbel took more than 15 years in construction and was dedicated to the gods of Amun. It is a world heritage site and stands as the greatest temple built by Ramses II. The rock was curved into a face of a pylon with 4 colossal figures of seated Ramses wearing double crowns of upper and Lower Egypt.
This facade is one 119 feet wide, and 100 feet high, while the colossal statues are 67 feet in height. At the top of the pylon, above the cornice, is a row of baboons. Baboons were believed to play a role of sun worshippers that helped the sun god reign over the power of darkness.The statue was however damaged in an earthquake leaving the lower part standing but the face and torso fall to the feet of the statue.
There are other statues to either side showing the family of Ramses (his mother, wife, sons and daughters). The inner part of the temple has the same triangular layout that most ancient Egyptian temples follow, with rooms decreasing in size from the entrance to the sanctuary. It consists of a series of halls and rooms extending back a total of 185 feet from the entrance. The long first hall is 54 feet wide and 58 feet deep and has two rows of Osirid statues of Ramses each 30 feet high. Those on the north side are shown wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt, while those on the south wear wearing the Double Crown of Lower Egypt.
On the west is a hall leading to the inner most sanctuary shrine with four seated figures of Ramses, gods Ptah, Amun and Re-Horakhte.
Every year, on the 22nd day of February and October, the sin illuminates the back walls of the shrine (inner most temple) casting light on the 3 statues except for Ptah the god of darkenss/underworld. This great architecture was inspired by the ancient Egyptians on the alleged birthday of the Pharoah Ramses and coronation day respectively.
On the construction of the Aswan High dam in 1960, the temples were moved to an artificial site so that the rising Nile water would not destroy them. The temples were moved to a location 65m high and 200m away from the river but some of the features were saved under the water of Lake Nasser.
The temples are open for Ancient Egypt tours daily receiving many Egyptian tourists with a nearby airport to easily facilitate the visiting tourists. Get more information on Ancient Egypt and the Abu Simbel Egypt Tours and what makes this place the leading tourist destination in Egypt and North Africa