Abu Simbel is a village located in southern Egypt and is home to the two Abu Simbel temples, which are made of rock and are situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser. The site is recognized by the UNESCO to be a World Heritage Site and has been named the “Nubian Monuments”. Because of their historical significance and threat of rising waters from the construction of Aswan High Dam UNESCO sponsored a program for their removal and reconstruction. The operation, which began in 1964 and continued for as long as four years, resulted in the dismantling and raising of the temples over 60 meters up the sandstone cliff where they had been originally built about 3,000 years ago. The different stages of the removal operation can be seen through photographs inside the man made dome.
The construction of the temple complex began in approximately 1264 BCE and took nearly 20 years. The temples, however, fell into disuse with time and remained covered in sand until 1813, when Swiss orientalist Jean-Louis Burckhardt discovered the top frieze of the main temple. Burckhardt shared his discovery with Giovanni Belzoni, an Italian explorer who succeeded in his attempt to enter the complex in 1817.
The Great Temple at Abu Simbel was dedicated to the gods of Amun-Re, Re-Harakhte, Ptah and Ramsis II. Its considered to be the grandest and the most beautiful in Egypt.
Abu Simbel Map
Abu Simbel Facts
- The purpose for the construction of the temple complex was to impress Egypt’s southern neighbors and to also reinforce the status of Egyptian religion in the region.
- It is believed that the ancient Egyptian architects positioned the axis of the temple in a way that the rays of the sun would illuminate the sculptures on the back wall on October 22 and February 22 which are the dates of Ramsis II’s birth and coronation respectively.
- The Temple of Ramses II is 33 meters high, 38 meters broad and is guarded by four statues, each being 20 meters high.
- Read More: Abu Simbel Temples
Where is Abu Simbel?
The archaeological site of Abu Simbel is located about 290 kilometers from Aswan in the southern part of Egypt along the Nile.
Best time to visit Abu Simbel
It’s necessary to avoid the midday heat while visiting the sights in Egypt located along the banks of the Nile River. Abu Simbel is located in southern Egypt, which is even hotter than Cairo. Weather is a deciding factor for most people, who plan their trips to Egypt and efforts should be made to visit in the winter when the temperatures are generally mild (November to February).
Abu Simbel Hours
The temples are open everyday from 6am till 4pm in the winter (Oct – Apr) and from 6am until 6pm in the summer (May – Sep).
Abu Simbel Tickets
The entrance fee for the temples is around 80 Egyptian Pounds (approx 13 USD). Many people leave to go to the temples around 3am in order to catch the morning sun. You could choose to visit the magnificent temples by a minibus or a flight depending on your budget and preference.
MS20150724Published On: Thursday, August 1st, 2013