Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel is among the most magnificent monuments in the world. The temples were threatened by submersion in Lake Nasser after the Aswan high dam was constructed. With the UNESCO’s help, the two temples were cut into large blocks and moved to a higher location.

The larger temple is for King Ramses II. The temple’s facade has four colossal statues of the King and is topped with 22 baboons whose arms are raised in the air to worship the rising sun. Ancient Egyptian architects positioned the temple in such a way that the sun’s rays penetrate the sanctuary on October 21 and February 21. These dates are believed to be the king's birthday and coronation date, respectively.

The smaller temple was the first temple ever dedicated to a queen. It is dedicated to the goddess Hathor and Nefertari, Ramses’ most beloved wife. It commemorates Ramses’ victory in the Battle of Kadesh, intimidates his Nubian neighbors, and honors his most beloved wife. The facade is decorated by six colossi, four of Ramses II and two of Nefertari, which are separated by a large gateway.