One of the most beautiful places in Egypt is undoubtedly Abu Simbel, although it must be said that when you get there you have to get out of your head that we are facing a temple that has been moved since the rock on which it is located has a quite artificial appearance. (and it is).
And it is that these temples were in a place that today is under the waters of Lake Nasser.
When the Aswan dam was built, the waters were going to submerge several temples that were on the banks of the Nile River but they were moved to a higher place to fortunately be able to save them.
What to see in Abu Simbel
If you want to visit Abu Simbel we recommend doing one of the following excursions:
- Abu Simbel tour by plane from Cairo
- Abu Simbel bus tour from Aswan
- Abu Simbel Two Day Tour by Private Vehicle
Temples of Ramses II
Actually, the complex consists of 2 temples, that of Ramses II and that of Nefertari, who was his wife.
The best known of the two is that of Ramses II but that of Nefertari does not detract too much either.
These temples, which were built during the reign of Ramses II around 1284 BC, were partially discovered by the Swiss Burkhard in 1813, although it was in 1817 when the Italian Belzoni managed to enter inside.
Since then they have been the delight of all fans of Egypt.
The main temple, dedicated to Ramses II, is 33 meters high and 38 meters wide and has 4 large statues, all of them representing Ramses II over 20 meters high on its main façade. At his feet we can find other smaller statues that represent the pharaoh’s family.
The interior of the Temple of Ramses II
In its interior rooms we can find other smaller statues of Ramses II and in the background, as in most Egyptian temples, we find the sanctuary where you can see the statues of Ra, Ptah, Amon and Ramses II himself.
Undoubtedly, one of its great curiosities and also mysteries is its disposition with respect to the sun and that is that it is built in such a way that on October 21 and February 21, the sun enters through the door and illuminates all the statues of the sanctuary except the of Ptah, who curiously was the god of Darkness. Without a doubt, one more example of the spectacular mastery of architecture that characterized the ancient Egyptians.
The Temple of Nefertari
Next to the temple of Ramses II we have the Temple of Nefertari, dedicated to the pharaoh’s wife and also to the goddess of love, Hathor.
Like the previous temple, the façade has a series of statues, although in this case there are 6, four representing Ramses and 2 Nefertari.
In the sanctuary in the background we have the statue of Hathor.
How to get to the Temples of Abu Simbel
The fastest is by plane from Aswan but it is also the most expensive. From Abu Simbel airport you can go by taxi.
The most common way is to go by bus, but these buses go in an escorted convoy, due to an attack several years ago and there are two shifts at the end of the day that take you through the desert on a trip that lasts 3 hours and 2 hours after arrival at Abu Simbel return to Aswan.
Bus tours can be booked at many places in Aswan. If you go on the morning shift you will have to get up quite early because the departure is at 4 in the morning but it is worth seeing the sunrise in the desert.
And the third is by boat on a cruise along Lake Nasser whose one of the stops is Abu Simbel. You can also hire it in Aswan and they last several days.