Your guide to Abu Simbel Temples in Ancient Egypt

Dive into Abu Simbel Temple's World:

For every monument lies a story waiting to be told, and the story of Abu Simbel is one filled with triumphs and incidents. Behold as Abu Simbel’s world unfolds itself and immerse you with a memorable experience. So, let us address your curiosity and take you on a tempting journey!

Where are the Great Abu Simbel temples?

Extending on the relaxing waters of the Nile River, the charming city Aswan! The city is famous for being a tourist attraction as it is a hub for civilization. Aswan is also captivating for its blended ancient and modern atmosphere. It offers you the crowded streets of the city combined with the quiet sensation of the old world. Two-hundred and forty kilometers from the heart of Aswan, the small village of Abu Simbel stands prominently welcoming its guests. The warm village is named after its greatest monument, the Abu Simbel Temple, Egypt’s crown jewel.

History of Abu Simbel Temples in Ancient Egypt:

The significant Abu Simbel complex stands as a powerful representative for king Ramses II era. For several decades, the temple remained hidden from the world, submerged in the desert golden sands. It wasn’t until 1813 that the temple was rediscovered and later on explored. The impressive temples were divided into two, with a number of colossal statues decorating every part of the temple. The religious sanctuary includes four seated statues dedicated to the mighty gods of ancient Egypt:

  • king Ramesses
  • Amun Ra (Creator of the universe)
  • Ra-Horakhty (God of the rising sun)
  • Ptah (God of darkness)

Why and How was Abu Simple Built?

Known in history as the great king, Ramses II had to immortalize his legacy of ruling the Egyptian lands. What a better way to do so than build a grand monument adorned with engraves all over its walls! The temple depicts incredible artworks and cravings telling the exceptional triumphs of the king. Wherever you look, there’s a dazzling inscription and an illustration to marvel at. The magnificent temple was built as part of an extensive building program carried out by the king. It draws much attention to it as it follows the rock-cut architecture technique. The whole temple was carved into the mountain with precision and perfection. To establish such iconic legacy, the work took about 20 years to be finished.

How did Aswan High Dam affect the Great Temple of Abu Simbel?

After surviving decades of sandy storms under the sizzling sun of the desert, the temple couldn’t stand against the modern world. Abu Simbel was originally built in between the first and second cataracts of the Nile. Being there, the location signified Egypt’s dominance and strength among the world’s empires. Fearing the floods, a high dam had to be built in that area, from which Lake Nasser would extend in between those cataracts. The dam would take up the temple’s space, so a plan to save the temple from fading had to be executed.

The Relocation of Abu Simbel:

A difficult task had to be done! The relocation of Abu Simbel attracted the global attention of the interested countries, along with the UNESCO. With precise hands, the plan was to carve the monuments out and reconstruct them at the new site. To dismantle the rock-cut temple, the workers had to peel away parts of the mountain to carry the blocks. No explosives were allowed in the process due to the delicate porous sandstone constituting the temple. One big blow and it will all fade away! Instead, carefully, machines like drills and compressors were used to cut the temple down. The reassembling process wasn’t any easier! The temple had to be set in the same alignment as before to make sure the sun illuminates it. Also, moving 20 to 30 tons weighing blocks wasn’t a piece of cake. Luckily, the process succeeded and the work was done. The temple stands tall ruling its new island waiting for visitors from all around the world. The effort-consuming task lasted for 4 years. It led to a rewarding achievement, highlighting one of the most difficult relocations ever.

The Great Temple at Abu Simbel:

Let’s tour The temple of Ramesses-Meryamun! Known as the Great Temple, the building tells the story of King Ramses II. The gate is decorated with four statues of the king under which smaller statues of his family stand. They include his mother, wife, sons, and daughters. A large façade then reveals itself behind. The first atrium is supported with eight gigantic pillars embellished with reliefs. It’s where the interesting story of King Rameses’s victory in Battle of Kadesh is illustrated. Moving forward, the second atrium dominates the light spot. It’s the meeting point between the king and the four statuses of the Gods.

Battle of Kadesh:

The legendary battle of Kadesh marks a significant turn in history! The glorious battle has put an end to the ingrown hostility between Egyptians and Hittites. Kadesh, the fortified city imposed a threat on the Egyptian lands, especially with the incursions carried out by king Muwatalli II. With tactic and strategy, marched king Ramses II with his troops to capture the city. Though king Ramses II has managed to break the Hittites army on field, he couldn’t claim the city his own. King Muwatalli II had a firm grip on the city, making it hard for the enemy to invade it. It was evident to both kings that breaking one another was an impossible act. Paving their way to peace, the two parties agreed on signing a treaty. It stood as a remarkable pinpoint in history, the first war to end hostility and start a new era of sharing knowledge, science, and experience.

The Small Temple at Abu Simbel:

Showing much affection and care, the romantic king Ramses II honored his beloved wife Queen Nefertari in various ways. One of which; the small temple in the complex is dedicated to her. On the outside, four statues, two for the king and two for his queen, are greeting their people. The small temple is a simpler version of the Great one. The temple walls are covered with the coronation illustrations of Queen Nefertari in the presence of the sky deity, Hathor, offering her the crown.

The Alignment of the Sun on The Grand Temple:

Ancient Egyptians have always worshiped the sun and glorified it. Stemming from this concept, the temple was built to host the sun rays on a special occasion every year. The sunlight travels through the sacred atrium of the temple, illuminating the faces of the three statues Ramses II, Amun Ra, and Ra-Horakhty. The statue of Ptah remains in the dark shadow, being the God of darkness. The mind-blowing event takes place twice a year. On 22 February to highlight king Rameses’s coronation day and his birthday, which is on 22 October. The awe-inspiring sun festival shows the world the intelligence and wisdom of the pharaohs. The occasion attracts many tourists, especially history enthusiasts, to witness the sun in its glamour.

It’s Time You visit the temple!

Don’t you want to witness the greatness of the ancient Egyptians yourself? Visit Abu Simbel and indulge in its cultural vibes. Embark on a journey like never before and attend the show of sound and light taking place in the temple. Enjoy the story being told live with the souls of the pharaohs as they come back to life. Get ready to have a memorable encounter with the great king himself!