Temples of Abu Simbel
The Temples of Abu Simbel are amongst the most interesting of all anicent Egyptian temples. Located close to the southern border with the Sudan, it is 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). Unfortunately these unique Temples suffered from the raising water of Lake Nasser while the High Dam was being built. Other countries, with the help of UNESCO, assisted Egypt to help save them.
The two Temples were cut in to many pieces, and then they were reconstructed again on a site 65m higher than the original location, and 200m back inland, to escape the rising water level. This great rescue operation began in June 1964 and finished in September 1968.
The first Temple was built by King Ramses II and is dedicated to the God Re-Hor-Akhty, Amon, Ptah, and King Ramses II as a deified King. Its façade is 35m long and 30m high.The façade has four seated colossi of the King; each one is 20m tall and represents the King seated on his throne wearing the double crown,accompanied by 3 small figures of his wives, daughters and sons flanking his legs.
Above the entrance stands the figure of Re-Hor-Akhty, while near to the summit of the façade there are number of baboons.
Inside the Temple there is a hall, supported by Osirid shaped pillars which were cut into the rock, with walls that are decorated by battle and offering scenes. There are some side rooms leading from the hall, which are also decorated with various scenes. At the far end of the Temple is the sanctuary, which contains four statues; Re-Hor-Akhty, Amon-Re, Ptah and the deified Ramses II.
The Temple of Nefertari
The Temple of Queen Nefertari is located 120 m north of the Temple of Ramses II and was also built by Ramses II, dedicated to the Goddess Hathor and to his wife Queen Nefertari. Queen Nefertari was the principal, and the most beloved, wife of King Ramses II. It is also a rock-cut Temple with a façade of about 28 m long and 12 m high, which contains 6 standing colossi, each one being about 11m in height. Four of them represent Ramses II and the other two represent Queen Nefertari, each is accompanied by two smaller figures of their children.
The entrance leads to a square hall, which is supported by 6 Hathor-headed pillars decorated with scenes depicting the King and the Queen making offerings to different deities.
At the end of the hall there is a doorway leading to a transverse vestibule decorated with scenes of King Ramses II making offering to Re-HorAkhty, while the Queen is presenting flowers to Khenum, Sat-tet and Anket.
The Transverse Hall leads to the Sanctuary, which contains a niche in the rear wall with a statue of Goddess Hathor, as a cow, protecting Ramses II.