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Abu Simbel

Listed under Archaeological Sites in Egypt.

  • Photo of Abu Simbel
  • Photo of Abu Simbel
  • Photo of Abu Simbel
  • Photo of Abu Simbel
  • Photo of Abu Simbel
Photo of Abu Simbel
Photo by flickr user Mrs Logic
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These two vast temples were carved into these orange rocks in the 13th Century BC, as a lasting monument to Pharaoh Ramesses II and his Queen Nefertari, but the entire structure was moved in the 1960s into its current position on a man made hill just up from the banks of Lake Nasser about three hundred kilometres from Aswan. Though the structure was only moved about 200 metres back from the river and onto higher ground it involved the whole cliffs being cut up into huge blocks – which confuses many visitors today who wonder at the construction.

This structure is one of the most visited in Egypt, a land of wondrous temples and monuments, yet it lay buried under sand for much of the following millennia until it was rediscovered in 1813 – by that stage only the very top friezes were showing over the mountains of sand. The larger of the temples, also referred to as The Great Temple is fronted by a 20 metre high statue of the Pharaoh and a colossal frieze. Inside it has the complex layout of many Egyptian temples.

The name isn't original, stories say that it comes from the 19th Century explorers who were lead to the temple by a young boy guide called Abu Simbel. These days thousands of people visit the site each day, coming in on tour buses from Aswan or to the local airstrip built just for these sight see-ers.

Written by  Jodie Kimbah.

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