Abu Simbel – Star attractions of our Egypt Tour Package
It is a mesmerising world heritage with an intriguingly rich history. An ancient temple complex, originally cut into a solid rock cliff, in southern Egypt and located at the second cataract of the Nile River.
The two temples which comprise the site were created during the reign of the most celebrated Ancient Egyptian king Ramesses II either between 1264 – 1244 BCE or 1244-1224 BCE.
The discrepancy in the dates is due to differing interpretations of the life of Ramesses II by modern day scholars. It is certain, based upon the extensive artwork throughout the interior of the Great Temple, that the structures were created, at least in part, to celebrate Ramesses’ victory over the Hittites at the Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BCE. The temple was dedicated to a number of ancient Egyptian gods such as Ra-Horakhty, Ptah, and Amon.
The process of construction began in Aswan. The temple was mainly cut into a solid rock cliff. Abu Simble complex mainly contains two main temples: The Grand Temple that stands 30 meters high and 35 meters long featuring four seated colossi at the entrance of King Ramses II on his throne.
It also contains a number of paths and rooms. Scripts could be found written on the walls about Ramses’ II military victories, his personal life alongside portrayals of Ancient Egyptian gods. The Small Temple was constructed for the Egyptian Queen Nefertari, Ramses II most favourite wife. Located 150 meters far away from the Grand Temple, the Small Temple has a front featuring four great seated colossi, two of Ramses II and two of Nefertari. The walls of this temple display images of Ramses and Nefertari while they’re praying to the gods.
The location of the site was sacred to Hathor long before the temples were built there and, it is thought, was carefully chosen by Ramesses for this very reason. In both temples, Ramesses is recognized as a god among other gods and his choice of an already sacred locale would have strengthened this impression among the people. The temples are also aligned with the east so that, twice a year, on 21 February and 21 October, the sun shines directly into the sanctuary of The Great Temple to illuminate the statues of Ramesses and Amun. The dates are thought to correspond to Ramesses’ birthday and coronation.
The alignment of sacred structures with the rising or setting sun, or with the position of the sun at the solstices, was common throughout the ancient world (best known at New Grange in Ireland and Maeshowe in Scotland) but the sanctuary of The Great Temple differs from these other sites in that the statue of the god Ptah, who stands among the others, is carefully positioned so that it is never illuminated at any time. As Ptah was associated with the Egyptian underworld, his image was kept in perpetual darkness. These are only one of the few stories associated with it that makes the place so magical.
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