This is the second largest man-made tourist attraction in Egypt just after the great lovely pyramids. Abu Simbel Temples are historical monuments which attract millions of visitors every year. These two sacred Temples are found in the mountain side. They were actually built during the sovereignty of Pharaoh Ramses II to symbolize his victory over the Kadesh Battle.
Location of the Temples
Presently, the Temples at Abu Simbel located at the apex of the artificial cliff on Lake Nasser’s Western banks. This is approximately 300 km from the Southwest of Aswan High Dam. The Ancient Temples were located 200 feet below this current location before being relocated in 1969.The reason why they were relocated was to prevent them from being submerged in the Lake Nasser just after the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
The process of relocating the Temples
This process was done through the efforts of the Egyptian government together with the UNESCO, which was a more than 60 million dollar project, and it took a period of four years. The temples were cut up big slabs, each weighing 3000 kilograms at their original site, but later cut up to higher ground to avoid damage. Everything was reassembled at the new site considering the elements that were on the original site, including accurate measurements of construction and the position of the sun. A small museum is located outside Abu Simbel which has a clear documentation of this relocation process. This museum also provides the history of Abu Simbel and the oldest kingdoms that worshipped there.
Touring Abu Simbel
The moment you decide to tour this place, you will see four big statues of Pharaoh Ramesses which sit at the front of the site. Unfortunately, the past earthquake destroyed one of the statutes in the middle starting from the head to its waist. Smaller statutes are at the feet of these enormous statutes.
As you continue to tour around this site, the tour guides will accompany you and tell you all the stories regarding the rise and fall of the past kingdoms. They will tell you the awesome stories of the gods who were capable of turning the day into night and also doing the impossible of spitting fire. It gets more interesting when you keep moving because you will meet more statutes in the first entrance corridor. The cave paintings are so attractive and the wall engravings will capture your attention. It gets more fascinating inside the Temple for those who love scary stories, mysteries and other unusual things in life. The illustrations carved on the walls describe more about the history of the temples.
The innermost shrine
This shrine is found inside the temple and also has four statutes sitting on a high platform which represent the main god. One extraordinary thing about this shrine is that in the late February and October, the early morning rays of the sun usually shine down the back wall directly giving it a powerful presence and also illuminating the gods. This is because of the way it was constructed by the extraordinary ancient designers and planners. Some Egyptians still regard these temples as sacred and for that reason; you can still find people outside them praying as they face the sun. Most people who believe in the holiness of Abu Simbel normally visit this site during the months of February and October when the rays of the sun shine directly to this shrine. They believe that the statues representing the gods usually come alive during that time.
Abu Simbel Hotels
This site has four-star accommodations that you would like. Nefertari Hotel offers the best quality of accommodation services to its visitors. It is located near Lake Nasser, along Antion Ayouyo Street. The rooms have modern amenities like color televisions, free internet access, and air conditioners. The hotel restaurants also serve delicious international cuisine, beverages and snacks.
How to get to Abu Simbel
Taking a flight from Aswan or Cairo to the airstrip behind Abu Simbel is an easy way to get there. You also simply use a bus though it will take longer. You will also find out that the temples are in a remote environment and very few people living there. This area is a desert land with high temperatures in the daytime and very cold during the night. This archaeological site is a very good place to be because of the unique twin temples.