Temples of Abu Simbel
ABU SIMBEL - 320 kilometres from Aswan is to be found Abu Simbel, the most beautiful and imaginative construction of the greatest and most whimsical pharaoh in Egyptian history. The main temple is dedicated in theory to Amon-Ra, Harmakis and Ptah, but in practice it was constructed for the greater glory of its builder - Ramses the Great (Ramses II). Next to it is a smaller temple dedicated to his wife - Queen Nefertari.
The main facade consists of four statues of the pharaoh seated on his throne and represent his advancing age with the youngest to the left as viewed from the front.
Twice a year a ray of sunlight would penetrate the front entrance and 65 metres into the temple. This would illuminate three of the four statues in the shrine at the end - the fourth, Ptah - the God of darkness - would not be lit!
The Goddess Maat giving protection to Queen Nefertari
When the Aswan dam was constructed this monument would have been submerged by the waters of the newly created Lake Nasser. A massive undertaking moved the entire temple 90 metres up and some way behind its original position. The smaller Temple of Hathor, that dedicated to Queen Nefertari, was also moved at that time.
|View of the facade of the main Temple at Abu Simbel, early morning||Full front view of the facade of the main Temple, early morning once the crowds arrive!|
|The statue of 'young' Ramses II from the facade of the main Temple||The statues of an older Ramses II on the right side of the main facade|
|A mural inside the main Temple showing Ramses II vanquishing an enemy||Another mural showing Ramses II vanquishing his enemies|
|Yet another mural showing Ramses II vanquishing his enemies with assistance from a deity (Note the two bows and the two arms!)||The Pharoah presenting his vital organs to the god Ra at the day of judgement|
|One of the eight Osirian pilasters inside the main temple with murals behind||Four of the Osirian pilasters inside the main temple leading to the sanctuary|
|Detail of Osirian pilasters showing a little of the ornate ceiling painting.||Sanctuary statues of Harmakis, Ramses II, Amon Ra, and on the left, Ptah God of Darkness who remains in the dark when the sun penetrates twice a year|
|This shows the artificial hill built to accommodate the Temple when it was moved. It is a hollow structure which is quite surreal inside!||Detail of wall carving on the outside of the main temple|
|The outer facade of the small temple of Hathor dedicated to Ramses' Queen - Nefertari|
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