Majestic Abu Simbel Temples in Nubia, Egypt
Egypt is a place of immense historical significance, featuring an endless array of attractions and wonders. And even though the Pyramids are definitely some of the most recognizable symbols of this stunning country, there are also other equally impressive masterpieces of architecture scattered across its barren dunes.
The twin Abu Simbel Temples can be found in Nubia, which is a region along the Nile River in southern Egypt. What gives these landmarks their immense significance is the fact that they were carved out of the mountainside instead of being built from the ground up. The temples were created during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, and they were meant to honor his victory in Battle of Kadesh, where his forces faced those of the Hittite Empire. Unfortunately, the current location of the Abu Simbel temples is not their original one, since they were relocated in 1968 in order to protect them from eventual flooding caused by the creation of Lake Nasser.
The initial construction process of these majestic monuments started at about 1264 BC, and required 20 years of hard work in order to be complete. As with many other major undertakings commissioned by Egypt’s pharaohs, the complex was meant to signify power and influence, and many believe that it was actually built in order to impress the population of southern Egypt. The Great Temple was used to worship the gods Amun, Ra-Horakhty, and Ptah as well as a deified version of Ramesses himself. The face of the temple features 4 statues representing Ramesses, and they are definitely quite imposing, boasting a height of 65 feet each. The complex itself features many rooms that were used mainly for religious purposes, each area flaunting incredible reliefs and multiple symbols signifying deities and important events.
Furthermore, the temples were built and placed in such a way that sunlight would penetrate the sanctuary and illuminate the sculptures found in the back on October 22 and February 22. However, the statue of the god Ptah is never actually touched by the sunrays since he was the known as the God of the Underworld. Some believe that the dates were not chosen at random and that they coincide with the pharaoh’s birthday and coronation day, but no strong evidence has been found to support these claims.
If you are planning a trip to Egypt anytime soon, we hope that we have convinced you to visit this exquisite UNESCO World Heritage site, as its immense beauty and rich historical heritage would definitely make your trip worthwhile.