Abu Simbel, Egypt

22.3457, 31.61624

Ancient Temples

About Abu Simbel

Main Highlights
The ancient city of Abu Simbel is located in southern Egypt. It is home to a number of ancient temples, including the Temple of Ramses II.
Extended Description:

Abu Simbel is an ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the west bank of the Nile in Aswan Governorate, Egypt. The complex is situated within the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Nubian Monuments, which run from Abu Simbel downriver to Philae. The temple complex was originally carved out of a sandstone cliff during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II in the 13th century BCE. It consists of two temples: the Great Temple of Ramses II, dedicated to the gods Amun, Re-Horakhty, and Ptah; and the Small Temple of Hathor, dedicated to the goddess Hathor. The temples were built to commemorate Ramses II's victory at the Battle of Kadesh, and to intimidate his Nubian enemies. The Great Temple of Ramses II is the largest and most impressive of the two temples at Abu Simbel. It is fronted by a massive portico with six colossal statues of the pharaoh, each over 20 meters tall. The statues were carved directly out of the cliff face, and their faces were painted to resemble Ramses II. Behind the portico is a dark chamber known as the "Hall of Statues", which is lined with more statues of Ramses II and various gods and goddesses. The chamber leads into the main hall of the temple, which is illuminated by a series of windows. The walls of the main hall are decorated with reliefs depicting Ramses II's military victories, and the ceiling is painted to resemble the sky. At the back of the main hall is a shrine dedicated to Amun, Re-Horakhty, and Ptah, the main gods worshipped at the temple. The Small Temple of Hathor is located to the south of the Great Temple of Ramses II. It is much smaller than the Great Temple, and its facade is decorated with reliefs of Ramses II and Hathor. The temple is entered through a small doorway, which leads into a single room. The room is decorated with reliefs of Ramses II and Hathor, and contains a statue of the goddess. Abu Simbel is one of the most famous archaeological sites in Egypt, and is a popular tourist destination. It is accessible by air or road from the city of Aswan.

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