Abu Simbel

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Egypt >> Aswan >> Attractions >> Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel

History

The archaeological site of Abu Simbel consists of two significant temples carved out of rocks- The Temple of Ramesses II and the Temple of Nefertari on the bank of the River Nile. Located in the south of Aswan, the ancient site is a three hour drive from the city. Today the site is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and represents a perfect image of what Ancient Egypt used to be.

The temple of Ramesses II comprises of three colossal statues of other Gods and a seated figure of Ramesses. The colossal statues are 67 feet high and there is a row of baboons, called ‘Watchers of the Dawn’ with their hands raised in adoration of the rising sun. Also the temple's facade consists of four enormous seated figures of the Pharaoh with each over 67 feet high. The seven temples built by Ramses II are dedicated to the sun gods Amon-Re and Re-Horakhte. The amazing aspect is that the temples were unknown untill they were rediscovered in 1813. The rock-cut temple on the west bank of the Nile is the greatest and the most significant of all the temples.

The Main Hall of Abu Simbel is 54 feet wide and consists of two rows of Osirid statues of Ramses each 30 feet high. The statues on the northern region wear the White Crown as a symbol of Upper Egypt whereas the statues on the southern region wear Double Crown as a symbol of Lower Egypt. The three doors to the west end lead to the mystical chambers, with the middle door opening into a room with four square pillars. There is a shrine too with statues of Gods Ptah, Amun-Ra, the deified Ramses II and Re-Horakhte.

An amazing Sound & Light show has been introduced recently at Abu Simbel.The show takes place during the evening hours and with projections on the temples, it displays the actual shape and size of the two temples in ancient era. The program is held in a number of languages.

Best time to visit

The winter months are a good time for sightsseing in Aswan.

Trivia

The Egyptians had a strong belief that baboons helped the sun god Ra defeat the darkness of night. Hence, the ‘Watchers of the Dawn’ were believed to be sacred while worshiping the rising sun.

Timing

Early morning is a pleasant time to visit the site of Abu Simbel for sightseeing.


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