Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Abu Simbel, Egypt.

Abu Simbel, Egypt.
Abu Simbel in Upper Egypt was saved from the rising waters of Lake Nasser, growing behind the Aswan Dam, in a massive archaeological rescue plan sponsored by UNESCO in the 1960s.
The complex of temples dedicated to the Pharaoh Ramses II "the Great" remain an evocative and unforgettable destination.
The Abu Simbel temples are two massive rock temples at Abu Simbel, a village in Nubia, southern Egypt, near the border with Sudan. They are situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser, about 230 km southwest of Aswan.
Abu Simbel temples
Statues at the entrance to the Abu Simbel Temple, Egypt.
The small temple of Abu Simbel The temple of Hathor and Nefertari.
The small temple of Abu Simbel, Egypt.
Abu Simbel Temples in Nubia, Egypt at Sunrise.
The complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Nubian Monuments", which run from Abu Simbel downriver to Philae (near Aswan). The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. The complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary to prevent them from being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River.
Abu Simbel is a village lying 280 km south of Aswan and only 40 km north of the Sudanese border. It is a very small settlement with very little to attract visitors other than its great temples for which it is famous. Few tourists linger for more than a few hours, although there are 5 hotels to attract visitors to stay the night. The temples at Abu Simbel were formerly located further down the hillside, facing the Nile in the same relative positions, but due to the rising waters of Lake Nasser, the original locations are underwater. In the 1960's, each temple was carefully sawed into numbered stone cubes, moved uphill, and reassembled before the water rose. The Great Temple of Ramses II was reassembled fronting a fake mountain, built like a domed basketball court, where the stone cubes occupy a section under the dome; from outside, the fake mountain looks like solid rock. Archaeologists have concluded that the immense sizes of the statues in the Great Temple were intended to scare potential enemies approaching Egypt's southern region, as they travelled down the Nile from out of Africa.
Abu Simbel, Egypt.
Abu Simbel Temples in Nubia, Egypt.
Abu Simbel temples, Egypt.
Abu Simbel, Nefertari Temple, Egypt.
Ramses II Temple.
The hypostyle hall of the Great Temple of Abu Simbel.
Get around:
The town of Abu Simbel is small enough to navigate on foot. Few people actually stay in Abu Simbel as most opt for the day-trip from Aswan. Abu Simbel is absolutely worth the trek - after seeing the magnanimous temples here, the pyramids will even seem less majestic to you.
To See:
Great Temple of Ramses II: 6:00am to 5:00pm. Carved out of a mountain between 1274BC and 1244BC, but lost to the world until it was rediscovered in 1813 by Swiss explorer Jean Louis Burkhart. Dedicated to Ramses II himself and gods Ra, Amun, and Ptah. Its axis was positioned by the ancient Egyptian architects in such a way that twice a year, on February and October 20, the rays of the sun would penetrate the sanctuary and illuminate the sculpture on the back wall, except for the statue of Ptah, the god connected with the Underworld, who always remained in the dark. These dates are allegedly the king's birthday and coronation day respectively, but there is no evidence to support this, though it is quite logical to assume that these dates had some relation to a great event, such as the jubilee celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the pharaoh's rule.
Temple of Hathor: The main temple in one of the best preserved temple complexes in Egypt
Sound & Light Show: Each night at 7pm and 8pm in winter and 8pm and 9pm in summer. Headphones are provided to allow visitors to hear the commentary in various languages.

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Abu Simbel, Egypt.
Abu Simbel, Egypt.
Abu Simbel, Nefertari Temple, Egypt.
Abu Simbel Temples in Nubia, Egypt.
Abu Simbel, Egypt.
Get in:
By plane: EgyptAir offers frequent flights to Abu Simbel from Aswan. Since 2015 you can't take the plane from Luxor to Abu Simbel.
By car: Abu Simbel is currently inaccessible to foreigners travelling by their own car, on account of police security concerns. Travellers are only able to access Abu Simbel by bus from Aswan. Or they can rent a car with driver via a local agency, which is the most comfortable way. If you do this, make sure that it is a licensed and official agency as only those whose cars are cleared in advance by the police are permitted to join the convoy. Aswan Individual is the best company to hire for a day-trip from Aswan.
By bus: Foreign travellers can get to Abu Simbel by coach or minibus from Aswan, travelling in police convoys. There is at least one daily convoy each way, taking 3 hours.
Tip: Sit on the left hand side of the bus. You will see the sunrise in the morning and be in the shade on the way back.
By boat: It is possible to travel by cruise ship from Aswan through Lake Nasser to Abu Simbel.
Abu Simbel from Airplane.
Abu Simbel Temples in Nubia, Egypt.
Abu Simbel Temples in Nubia, Egypt.
Rameses II, Abu Simbel, Egypt.
Temple of Rameses II The Great Abu Simbel, Egypt.
Temple of Rameses II The Great Abu Simbel, Egypt.
The Great Temple at Abu Simbel, Egypt.
Abu Simbel UNESCO

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