The Temple of Abu Simbel in the governorate of Aswan is one of Egypt's most famous ancient temples. The importance of the Great Temple of Abu Simbel is due to its association with the phenomenon of the sun crossing the face of the statue of Pharaoh Ramses II twice a year, the first corresponding to October 22 and the second to February 22 of each year.
Abu Simbel Temples
Its 33 m high facade, with the four colossal statues of Ramses II wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, had the role of showing the supremacy of the pharaoh to visitors coming from the south from the time of the new kingdom exactly the 19th dynasty.
Abu Simbel Temple history, that great temple was dedicated to the protective gods of ancient Egypt. Amun of Thebes (Luxor nowadays), Ptah of Memphis (the capital of Egypt during the old kingdom), and Ra-
Harakhty of Heliopolis. Carved into the rocky cliff on the western bank of the Nile, it was started in the fifth year of Pharaoh's reign and completed throughout 30 years.
Abu Simbel Temple
At the dawn of the time of the great pharaohs of ancient Egypt, the monument was neglected and gradually covered by sand. It completely disappeared from history, without being mentioned anymore by the Greeks or the Romans.
Thanks to Lewis Burkhardt, a Swiss explorer who in 1813 described the place as a set of statues from which you can see little more than the head and shoulders. In 1817, the Italian explorer Giovanni Battista Belzoni managed to enter the temple but was unfortunately disappointed by the few objects portrayed inside. The monument remained partially in the sand for other decades, revealed in its complete majesty only by 1909.
The smallest temple in Abu Simbel, dedicated to the goddess of love, Hathor, was built by Ramses II in honor of his beloved wife, Nefertari. On the front of the temple, there are six colossal statues about 10 meters high depicting Ramses II and the queen. These are flanked by smaller figures for other members of the royal family.
Inside the temple, the hypostyle hall is decorated with pillars topped with heads of Hathor and scenes of Ramses fighting the enemies in the legendary battle of Kadesh. The walls are adorned with scenes depicting Nefertari, Hathor, and Mut. On the back wall, the royal couple is depicted giving offerings to the gods.
In the 1960s, Abu Simbel temples were relocated, as Lake Nasser threatened to submerge them. The move was carried out under the guidance of UNESCO, transporting and relocating the monuments on an artificial hill, located 210 meters away and 65 meters higher than the original site. Abu Simbel temples are among the Must-see stops of all Egypt Nile River Cruises and are included within most Egypt Day Tours, Egypt Travel Packages, Aswan day tours, or even during Luxor excursions.