Abu Simbel: What to know and how to visit it

By | January 6, 2019

Built to stand the test of time, to pay tribute to the pharaoh as a god and to impress anyone in front of them, the Abu Simbel temples still perform their task today, 3,000 years after their construction.

The Great Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel, with the 4 giants at the entrance representing the pharaoh

Strongly wanted by Ramses II , the Abu Simbel temples are one of the unmissable things of every trip to Egypt .

After my two visits here (at a distance of 9 years one from the other!) I wrote the things we need to know . At the end of this post you also find how to visit it, so you can avoid the cheats that unfortunately do not say it, but in Egypt they are always lurking around the corner.

In any case, the first moment in which you will see the statues of the pharaoh will be a moment that will remain engraved in your life forever.

The temple of Abu Simbel  was strongly desired and built by Ramses II to celebrate his victory against the Hittites at the Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC. 
The temple was dedicated to a series of ancient Egyptian deities such as Ra-Horakhty , Ptah and Amon.

Abu Simbel was designed by the pharaoh also to be a testimony of his power that should never be affected by time.

That’s why the impressive statues and the temple itself were built of solid stone.

Ramses, also (ok was also a bit ‘megalomaniac, let’s face it), did not want his temple could be destroyed by future kings and wanted to make his position of true god eternal . This is also one of the reasons why the temples to him and his queen Nefertari were so far away, about 280 km south of Aswan , near the border with present Sudan.

And the Abu Simbel temples remained intact , even though the sand eventually covered them, erasing their memory until in 1813 the Swiss archaeologist Burckhardt (the same who discovered Petra in Jordan , just to understand), found it under the sand. The work to bring Abu Simbel back to light began until the Italian archaeologist Giovanni Battista Belzoni entered the complex for the first time in 1817.

Even today the Abu Simbel temples fully meet Ramses’ goal of living 
forever .

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