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Abu

The first, and largest of the temples, is dedicated to the sun god Ra-Harakhte, while the second, which is smaller, and a few meters to the north, was dedicated by Ramses II to his beautiful wife, Nefertari, to be worshipped together with other deities.

These two temples attracted world-wide attention when they were threatened by inundation by the waters of the High Dam. In response to an appeal by the Arab Republic of Egypt, UNESCO, in 1959, initiated an international donations campaign to save the monuments of Nubia, the relics of the oldest human civilization. The salvage of the Abu Simbel temples began in 1963, and cost some 36 million dollars. Once again the Abu Simbel temples were relocated on the plateau to greet the sunrise every morning.

The Greater Abu Simbel Temple (Ramses II) 
This is one of the many relics erected by the Pharaoh Ramses II, this is the grandest and most beautiful of temples. The facade is 33 meters high, and 38 meters broad, and guarded by for statues of Ramses II, each of which is 20 meters high.

High on the facade, there is a carved row of baboons, smiling at the sunrise. On the doorway of the temple, there is a beautiful inscription of the king's name: Ser-Ma'at-Ra and between the legs of the colossal statues on the facade, we can see smaller statues of Ramses II's family: his mother "Mut-tuy", his wife "Nefertari" and his sons and daughters.

There is also a number of dedications, important amongst which is Ramses II's marriage to the daughter of the King of the Hittites. Beyond their entrance, there is the Great Hall of Pillars, with eight pillars bearing the deified Ramses II in the shape of Osiris.

The walls of this hall bear inscriptions recording the Battle of Kadesh waged by RamseS II against the Hittites. Then we enter the smaller hall of the temple - the hall of the nobles, containing four square pillars. Then we come to the Holiest of Holies, where we Amun-Ra find four statues of: Ra-Harakhte, Ptah, Amun-Ra and King Ramses II. This temple is unique, since the sun shines directly on the Holiest of Holies two days a year: February 21, the king's birthday, and October 22, the date of his coronation.

The Smaller Abu Simbel Temple (Nefertari)

Located north of the Greater Temple, this was carved in the rock by Ramses II and dedicated to the goddess of Love and Beauty, Hathur, and also to his favorite wife, Nefertari. The Facade is adorned by six statues, four to Ramses II and two to his wife Nefertari. The entrance leads to a hall containing six pillars bearing the head of the goddess, Hathur.

The eastern wall bears inscriptions depicting Ramses II striking the enemy before Ra-Harakhte and Amun-Ra. Other wall scenes show Ramses II and Nefertari offering sacrifices to the gods. 

Beyond this hall, there is another wall with similar scenes and paintings.Finally, we reach the Holiest of Holies, where we find the statue of the goddess Hathur.

This is, indeed, a most awesome sight to the visitor; for here he finds the greatest artificial dome that bears the man-made mountain behind the Temples of Abu Simbel.


Alexandria : Cairo : Luxor : Aswan : Abu Simbel 


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