Abu SimbelApprox. Time: 7 hours
Activity Level: Easy to Moderate

Take a flight from Aswan and view the amazing scenery of the Nile Valley in a half days trip! Abu Simbel was cut into rock by the pharaoh Ramses II, this temple is a must see! This is the Great Temple of Abu Simbel. The temple was cut into rock in the 13th century B.C. by the famous pharaoh Ramses II in honour of himself and the triad Amon-Ra, Ptah and Ra-Harakhte. Together with a smaller temple dedicated to Ramses' wife Nefertari and the goddess Hathor, it lay strategically in a bend of the river Nile overlooking the plains to the south as an impressive monument of Egypt's might. As such it must have served to impress people coming from the south, possibly to scare anyone thinking of invading the land of Egypt. The temple's strategic position right at the bank of the Nile proved unfortunate because the building of a new dam in the Nile in the 1960s caused the water to rise and threaten to eventually drown the great monument.

During a great international rescue campaign headed by UNESCO between 1963 and 1967 the temple was moved to a higher and safe location.

The front of the temple is dominated by four gigantic statues of the great pharaoh himself. The colossi of the king, wearing the characteristic nemes headcloth and double crown (of upper and lower Egypt), are each 20 metres high, while the facade is more than 35 metres wide and 30 metres high. The king is accompanied by some of his wives, sons and daughters who appear in much smaller size beside his legs. Right above the entrance stands a figure of the god Re-Harakhte in a small niche. The top of the facade is crowned by a row of baboons.

Courtesy of Egypt Tourism Board