The Temples of Abu Simbel are some of ancient Egypt's most interesting temples. Located close to the southern border of Sudan, the site 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 rising water of Lake Nasser while the High Dam was being built. Other countries, with the help of UNES CO, assisted Egypt to help save them.
The two temples were cut into many pieces and taken to a site 200M away and 65M higher, then reconstructed 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 Gods Re-Hor-Akhty, Amon, Ptah, and King Ramses II as a deified King. They did think quite highly of themselves as kings but rather as gods! the temple facade is 35m long and 30m high, with four 20m tall seated colossi of the King seated on his throne wearing the double crown, accompanied by 3 small figures of his wives, daughters, and sons around his legs.
Above the entrance stands the figure of Re-Hor-Akhty, while near the summit of the facade, there is a number of baboons. Don't worry, they aren't real!
Inside the temple 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 120m 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 facade of about 28 m long and 12 m high, which contains 6 11m tall standing colossi. 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 depictions of the King and the Queen making offerings to different deities.
At the end of the hall is a doorway leading to a transverse vestibule decorated with scenes of King Ramses II making an offering to Re-HorAkhty, while the Queen is presenting flowers to Keenum, 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.
It is truly an amazing place to visit with so many intricate details to soak in.