Day 284… Get out of bed at 3am… nowhere remotely NEAR to being given awake yet as zombie Tony goes to travel to the magnificent temples of Abu Simbel. Built by Ramses II, it was the gateway to Egypt for Southern Africans and its imposing facade clearly delineated the line between what was the Pharaoh’s land and what was not.
The Temples of Abu Simbel are amongst the most interesting Pharaonic Temples. Located close to the southern border with the Sudan, it is 280 km south of Aswan and consists of two, rock-cut Temples, which both date back to the reign of King Ramses II (1290-1223 BC). Unfortunately these unique Temples suffered from the raising water of Lake Nasser while the High Dam was being built. Other countries, with the help of UNESCO, assisted Egypt to help save them.
The two Temples were cut in to many pieces, and then they were reconstructed again on a site 65m higher than the original location, and 200m back inland, to escape the rising water level. This great rescue operation began in June 1964 and finished in September 1968. They were cut into less peices, but bigger ones… and in all like nd stroke of genius the project decided they didn’t need the WHOLE mountain. ..just the outside bits that LOOK like a mountain. Do they destroyed the bit between the surface and temple and when they re-built the temple part… covered it in a huge concrete dome… they popped the top part of the mountain back. Brilliant.
Now the first Temple was built by King Ramses II and is dedicated to the God Re-Hor-Akhty, Amon, Ptah, and King Ramses II as a deified King. Inside the Temple there is a hall, supported by Osirid shaped pillars which were cut into the rock, with walls that are decorated by battle and offering scenes. There are some side rooms leading from the hall, which are also decorated with various scenes. At the far end of the Temple is the sanctuary, which contains four statues; Re-Hor-Akhty, Amon-Re, Ptah and the deified Ramses II.
The Temple of Queen Nefertari is located 120m from the Temple of Ramses II and was also built by Ramses II, dedicated to the Goddess Hathor and to his wife Queen Nefertari. Queen Nefertari was the principal, and the most beloved of 92 harem girls, wife of King Ramses II and a Nubian princess. The entrance leads to a square hall, which is supported by 6 Hathor-headed pillars decorated with scenes depicting the King and the Queen making offerings to different deities. At the end of the hall there is a doorway leading to a transverse vestibule decorated with scenes of King Ramses II making offering to Re-HorAkhty, while the Queen is presenting flowers to Khenum, Sat-tet and Anket. The Transverse Hall leads to the Sanctuary, which contains a niche in the rear wall with a statue of Goddess Hathor, as a cow, protecting Ramses II.
Both together are simply stunning and i stand in these 3,000+ years old temples staring gob-smacked at the gorgeous hieroglyphics on the walls and the sheer size and majesty of the place. Amazing.