The Sacred Temple of Abu Simbel

On the southern part of Egypt and on the western bank of Lake Nasser, are two massive rock temples known as “The Temples of Abu Simbel.” It’s a rock-cut temple from the time of the Pharaoh Ramses II.

On the southern part of Egypt and on the western bank of Lake Nasser, are two massive rock temples known as “The Temples of Abu Simbel.” It’s a rock-cut temple from the time of the Pharaoh Ramses II.

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The great Pharaoh Ramses II, in 1257 BC (13th century BC) had two temples carved out of solid rock. He dedicated it to the Gods Re-Hor-Akhty, Amon, and Ptah. He also had a statue of him built seated with these three gods. The main purpose of the temples was to show his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh, and to intimidate his Nubian neighbors. It was also a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari.

The temples suffered from the raising water of Lake Nasser while the High Dam was being built, so they had to relocate it on an artificial hill high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir in June 1964; it was finished in September 1968. The two Temples were cut into many pieces, and then they were reconstructed again to escape the rising water level.

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The first temple was dedicated to Pharoah Ramses II. The façade has four colossal seated figures of Ramses wearing the double crown, accompanied by three small figures of his wives, daughters and sons along his legs.

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Inside the Temple is a hall supported by eight Osirid statues of Ramses which were cut into the rock, with walls that are decorated by battle and offering scenes. There are rooms leading from the hall which are also decorated with various scenes. At the far end of the Temple is the sanctuary, which contains the statues of Re-Hor-Akhty, Amon-Re, Ptah and the great Pharaoh Ramses II. The walls show scenes of Ramses’ greatness in battle. He was very proud of his victory at the battle of Kadesh and depicted this on numerous monuments including this temple.

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The second temple was the temple of Hathor also known as the “Small Temple”. It shows Ramses II’s first queen Nefertari. She was the principal, and the most beloved, wife of the Pharaoh Ramses II. The façade has 6 standing colossi, four of them represent Ramses II and the other two represent Queen Nefertari, and each is accompanied by two smaller figures of their children.

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The entrance leads to a square hall, which is supported by 6 Hathor-headed pillars showing Nefertari participating in the divine ritual as her husband making offerings to different deities. At the end of the hall is a doorway leading to a transverse hall decorated with scenes of King Ramses II making offerings to Re-Hor-Akhty, while the Queen is presenting flowers to Khenum, Sat-tet and Anket. This hall leads to the he sanctuary, which features a statue of the goddess Hathor represented as a cow protecting Ramses II.

Image via Google Images

This twin temple of Abu Simbel are among the most interesting Pharaonic Temples ever built and was also one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

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