Temple Of Abu Simbel Egypt
Ranked #3 in Egypt Tourism
In Nubia Egypt, on the west bank of Nile, is Abu Simbel; one of the world’s most impressive temples, carved out of cliffs in 1257 BCE by the order of the Pharaoh Ramses II. The carving process took some 20 years until the impressive temple in honor of gods Amon-Re and Re-Horakhte was ready.
The temples were built as a symbol of religion and to show the power of the pharaoh to the Nubian neighbours The temples themselves are amazing; however, they got famous because of something else. Abu Simbel was situated on the very remote area near the Sudanese border and therefore remained unknown to the public for many centuries until 1813 when a Swiss scientist Jean-Louis Burkhard found a piece of the temple. He contacted Giovanni Belzoni, another scientist that was exploring the area, who was finally managed to enter the complex in 1817.
On the facade of the temple, amazing 67 feet high statues are represented, but above the cornice you can see a row of baboons – they were supposed to symbolize the Watchers of the Dawn as their posture means they are depicted as during the adoration of the Sun.
Inside Abu Simbel
Inside the cliff, you will see many stunning pieces of interior. The temple consists of long halls and rooms that stretch 185 feet inside the cliff. They are decorated with grand statues of Ramses II.
One magical touch that makes the temple so admirable is that the temples were located so precisely that the sun shined into in only twice a year – February 22 and October 22 which are the days of the birth and the coronation of the pharaoh.
Abu Simbel Relocation
In the 1960-es, the construction of the Aswan High Dam began and this sacred site was endangered by the threat of submerging under the waters so a campaign began in order to save the temples. This process turned out to be an amazing feat of engineering. From 1964 to 1968, group of the most skilled specialists cut out the temples into large blocks and put them back together on a cliff 200 feet above the initial site. This took a lot of effort and funding – it took approximately $40 million USD for this feat of engineering to be completed.
The relocation of the Abu Simbel temples is considered to be one of the greatest engineering challenges of all time. The complex is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in one of the top tourist attractions in Egypt.