Abu Simbel temples
Historic Site in Aswān
Abu Simbel, located in Aswān muḥāfaẓah (governorate), southern Egypt, is home to two temples constructed by the pharaoh Ramses II (reigned 1279–13 BCE). The area was once the southern frontier of pharaonic Egypt, facing Nubia. The four colossal statues of Ramses in front of the main temple are remarkable examples of ancient Egyptian art. In the 1960s, the temples were saved from the rising waters of the Nile River caused by the Aswan High Dam, through a complex engineering feat. Carved out of a sandstone cliff on the west bank of the Nile, the temples were unknown to the outside world until their discovery in 1813 by the Swiss researcher Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. The main temple entrance has two 66-foot (20-metre) seated figures of Ramses, each flanked by small figures representing his family. The temple, which is dedicated to the sun gods Amon-Re and Re-Horakhte, consists of three consecutive halls decorated with more statues of Ramses and painted scenes of his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh. The temple is famous for being illuminated by the first rays of the morning sun twice a year, on about February 22 and October 22.
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Visiting Abu Simbel temples
6am-5pm Oct-Apr, to 6pm May-Sep
adult/student incl guide LE160/80