The Temples of Abu Simbel in Aswan

Temples of Abu Simbel

The Temples of Abu Simbel _ the most famous rock-cut temples in Egypt. They are located near the modern village of Abu Simbel, at the Second Nile Cataract, the border between Lower Nubia and Upper Nubia. There are two of them, the Great Temple, dedicated to Ramses II himself, and the Small Temple, dedicated to his wife Queen Amun-her-khepeshef.

Location

The Abu Simbel temples are two massive rock temples at the Nubian village of Abu Simbel, Aswan governorate, Egypt. In other words, these temples stand on the western bank of Lake Nasser, at about 230 km southwest of Aswan.

History

The twin temples are originally carved out of the mountainside in the 13th century BC, during the 19th dynasty reign of the Pharaoh Ramses II. During his reign, Ramses II built several grand temples, in Nubia, in order to impress upon the Nubian Egypt’s might, and to secure source of gold and many other precious trade goods.

The construction of the temple complex started in approximately 1264 BC and lasted for about 20 years, until 1244 BC. During ancient Egypt, they named it “Temple of Ramses, beloved by Amun“.

Abu Simbel temples after the 5th century AD

After the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River, the relocation of the temples was quite necessary. Otherwise, they would have been submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed behind that Dam.

Rescue of the Temples in Abu Simbel

In 1959, an international donations campaign to save the monuments of Nubia began. Indeed, the southernmost relics of this ancient human civilization were under threat from the rising waters behind the Aswan High Dam.

The collapsed colossus of the Great Temple supposedly fell during an earthquake shortly after its construction. On moving the temple, it was decided to leave it as the face is missing.

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