Abu Simbel lies further south of Aswan. The place became famous for the great rock temples of Pharaoh Ramses II and his royal wife Nefertari.
The name Abu Simbel comes from a Europeanization of the Arabic term Abu Sunbul, a derivative of the ancient place name Ipsambul.
The Swiss Jean Louis Burckhardt discovered the temples in 1813 during a research trip and learned about the existence of a temple from locals.
He first came across the Hathor temple of Nefertari and then found the temple of Ramses II, which was largely covered by sand.
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The interior of the temple was not yet accessible to him.
Today the rock temples are located on an island in Lake Nasser, which is connected to Abu Simbel by a dam. This transfer was necessary due to the construction of the artificial reservoir.
For the implementation of this project, blocks were sawn from the rock and taken around 65 meters higher. In order to ensure an almost true-to-original construction, the developers built a reinforced concrete dome structure at the higher location, which ensured that the monument would be seamlessly integrated into its new surroundings.
Masses of sand and stone cover the reinforced concrete dome today, so that the temples appear as being in their original place. The Abu Simbel project cost $ 40 million and was realized with the help of other nations and UNESCO.
Abu Simbel temple:
Both the large temple in honour of Ramses II and the smaller Hathor temple, which is dedicated to the royal consort Nefertari, have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
The four giant Ramses statues impress with their sheer size. The idea that these monuments were actually created by humans thousands of years ago gives goosebumps.
The large temple measures approx. 38 meters wide, is 31 meters high and 56 meters long, while the smaller one is 28 meters wide, 12 meters high and 20 meters long – the dimensions are enormous, photos or filming do not really capture them properly.
The historical magic that surrounds Ramses II and his royal wife Nefertari becomes almost haptic at this point. Next to the legs of the huge monuments are smaller statues that represent the twelve children of the couple.
Six statues of Ramses and Nefertari rise on the facade of the smaller Hathor Temple of Nefertari.
The same heights of the two show how important his wife was for Ramses II. Both temples are beautifully equipped and richly decorated.
They mainly show the battle between Egyptians and Hittites. In various points of historical tradition, Ramses II is said to have concluded the first peace treaty in history.
A precise west-east orientation still ensures that the sun shines in the larger temple of Pharaoh on February 21 and October 21, illuminating a statue of Ramses and the gods – a truly magical experience,
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