Abu Simbel, Egypt

Benny M.

Location

Abu Simbel is located around 143 miles southwest of present day Aswan Governorate, Southern Egypt, right on bank of Lake Nasser (man made lake reservoir from the river Nile). Back in ancient times this area was at the southern frontier of Egypt, facing Nubia.
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Basic Description

At the site there are two temples. North of the larger temple there is The Small Temple dedicated to Nefertari for worship of the goddess Hathor, on the outside there are 35 foot tall statues of Ramesses II and Neferati.

The Great Temple is the larger of the two, at the front of it there are two pairs of 66 foot tall sitting statues of Ramesses II. At the base of the giant statues are smaller ones of his children, Nefertari and his mother. This temple is dedicated to the Solar gods AmonRe and Re Horakhte. These temples were constructed between 1444 BC. and 1424 BC. so, about 20 years.

Detail Within

Inside of The Great Temple there are three back to back halls decorated with colored sculptures and fine workmanship in good preservation. On the walls there are paintings of Ramesses's victory at the battle of Kadesh. The temple faces east so that on February 22nd and October 22nd light from in the morning sun lights up the shrine of Ramesses's and Amon Re. This is thought to be his birthday or coronation.

Just like the Great Temple the Small Temple faces East. The details of the decorations inside are not as complex as the Great Temple but are still amazing.

Sacredness

This site was sacred to the people of the Ancient Egyptian civilization for the worship of Hathor of Absek of The Small Temple and to the sun gods of Amon Re and Re Horakhte of the Great Temple.

History

These temples where ordered by Ramesses II to be built for the commemoration of his victory at the Battle of Kadesh figures of bound captives were carved at the base. To Intimidate Egypt's neighbors which were the Nubians, forcing Egypt's religion on them . The Small Temple to honor his queen Neferati also to the goddess Hathor and The Great Temple to honor himself and the gods Amon Re and Re Horakhte.


These temple were rediscovered in 1813 by Johann Ludwig Burkardt a Scholar from Sweden. Before the rediscovery the statues were covered in sand almost half way up the temples and abandoned since before the 6th century BC. Johann traveled down the Nile and spotted what wasn't covered in sand. He and Giovanni Belzoni (an Italian explorer) tried to dig up the site, but they were unsuccessful at first. Later returning to the site in 1817 Belzoni and William John Bankes were succesful in dig away the sand over the entrance and entering the temples.

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Relocation

Because of building of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s, Abu Simbel was in danger of flooding of Lake Nasser, the site would be completely submerged. From 1964-1968 UNESCO established they wanted to save the temples and take apart the temples and locate them 200 feet above there original position. They were kept even in way facing East, to let the light flow in on the same days.

Works Cited

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Roberts, David. “Abu Simbel Temple of Ramesses II.” The Rameses Temple at Abu Simbel. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2016. <http://ascendingpassage.com/N-14-Abu-Simbel-Ramesses.htm>.

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Strudwick, Helen. Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. London: Amber Ltd., 2006. Print.

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