Egypt and Jordan / The Great Temple of Ramses II
Egypt
The Great Temple of Ramses II
Egypt and Jordan / The Nefertari Temple
Egypt
The Nefertari Temple
Egypt and Jordan / Wall Painting in the Tomb of Nefertari
Egypt
Wall Painting in the Tomb of Nefertari
Egypt and Jordan / Wall Painting in the Tomb of Nefertari
Egypt
Wall Painting in the Tomb of Nefertari
Egypt and Jordan / Wall Painting in the Tomb of Nefertari
Egypt
Wall Painting in the Tomb of Nefertari

Abu Simbel

The two temples at Abu Simbel are among Egypt's finest. Hewn out of a solid cliff in the thirteenth century BC, they were masterminded by the pharaoh Ramses II. The larger of the two temples, the Great Temple, stands over a hundred feet high, and at its entrance are four colossal figures of Ramses II, each over sixty feet high (though one of the four was partially destroyed by an earthquake). In the inner sanctuary of the temple is a depiction of Ramses II with the gods Amun-Ra, Ptah and the falcon-headed sun god Ra-Harakhty. On two days of every year, the sun's rays penetrate the temple's inner sanctuary and illuminate all of the statues except Ptah, the god of the underworld.

The smaller of the temples at Abu Simbel is the Temple of Hathor, which is dedicated to the goddess Hathor and was built by Ramses II to honor his wife Nefertari.

Abu Simbel sits in the far south of Egypt, just north of what is today the border with Sudan. Over the centuries the temples at Abu Simbel were slowly buried as both the banks of the Nile and the sands of the surrounding desert shifted. The temples weren't rediscovered until 1813, when a Swiss explorer happened upon them. In the 1960s the temples were threatened by the creation of Lake Nasser and were moved away from the lake's waters by UNESCO, a relocation that was a mammoth undertaking. Today the temples overlook Lake Nasser and are a glorious sight from the water.

 

Abu Simbel