Abu Simbel Temples
Abu Simbel Temple, one of the most important monuments in Egypt in general, and Aswan Governorate in particular, and the best witness to the history of Egyptian civilization in the south, and represents the miracles of the ancient Egyptians in astronomy, engineering and architecture, and the real miracle is represented in the phenomenon of the sun perpendicular to 3 statues in this temple. Twice a year, the first coincides with October 22 and the second on February 22. They are the statue of the god Ra Hor Akhti, King Ramses II, and the statue of the god Amun, while they are not perpendicular to the statue of the god Ptah, the god of darkness according to the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians.
The Abu Simbel temple is located in southern Egypt to the western side of Lake Nasser, west of Aswan. UNESCO chose the Abu Simbel temple as a historical, archaeological site, and praised it and recommended the need to take care of it and motivate tourists to come to the city of Aswan to enjoy this wonderful archaeological landmark.
King Ramses II built this temple, and its construction began around (1264 BC until 1244 BC). It took about 20 years to build this temple, and this temple is completely carved in the rock, representing one of the miracles of architecture in the ancient world.
This temple is characterized by a unique architectural design. Its facade is carved into the rock and decorated with four huge statues of King Ramses II, each about 20 meters long. The facade is followed by a corridor leading to the inside of the temple, carved into the rock 48 meters deep, and its walls are decorated with scenes recording the king’s victories. Ramses II and his conquests, including the Battle of Kadesh, defeated the Hittites and religious scenes depicting the king in his relations with ancient Egyptian deities.
The architectural creativity of this temple appears with the succession of the sun’s rays perpendicular to the farthest place inside the temple, which is what we call the “Holy of Holies” where King Ramses II sits, and next to him are the statues of the god “Amon Ra”, the god “Ra Hor Akhti” and the god “Ptah”, the god of the underworld. The sun shines on these statues, except for the statue of “Ptah” because he is the deity of the underworld, which must be characterized by darkness.
This temple was known as the “Temple of Ramses, beloved by Amun”, as King Ramses II wanted to commemorate his reign with a civilizational landmark extending for centuries after him; in addition to that, this temple was dedicated to the worship of the god “Ra Hor Akhti”, and the idol “Amon Ra”, And the idol “Ptah”, historians say, that Abu Simbel’s design expresses something of King Ramses II’s pride in himself.
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Attached to the temple of Abu Simbel is a neighbouring temple, located 100 meters from the first temple, built by King Ramses II for his wife Queen Nefertari in honour and love for her and dedicating this temple to the worship of the goddess “Hathor”.
Its facade is adorned by 6 colossal statues of equal size representing the king and queen, clearly demonstrating the high status that Queen Nefertari enjoyed with her husband, King Ramses II.
The temple extends into the plateau at a depth of 24 meters. Its interior walls are adorned with a group of wonderful scenes, which depicted the queen worshipping different deities according to their beliefs, either with the king or alone.
The name “Abu Simbel” was given to this archaeological site by the Swiss traveller “Johann Ludwig Burckhardt”, known as Ibrahim Burckhardt, who discovered the site in 1813 AD, when he was taken to this area by a child called “Abu Simbel”.
The story of the discovery of Abu Simbel temple:
The story of the temple’s discovery dates back to 1813 AD during a visit by the Swiss traveller and explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in southern Egypt to explore the Nile Falls or visit the region’s landmarks. Still, during his passage, suddenly, he found himself in front of the heads of four huge statues buried in the sand, all carved in the mountain itself, but did not cost. He took the risk of going down to see these faces, and he contented himself with mentioning what he saw in his memoirs. He said, “I saw the faces of statues that looked like Greek statues.”
After 4 years, the explorer “Giovanni Belzoni” came. After reading Burkhart’s memoirs, he expedition to the upper Nubia and arrived at the Abu Simbel temple. Inside the temple, and discovered its halls and halls until he reached the Holy of Holies of the temple in which there are statues of Amun, “Ra Hor Akhti”, and “Ptah” next to the statue of Ramses II.
Belzoni immortalized his memory and imitated the pharaohs by engraving his name in the northern wall of the temple’s hall of the Holy of Holies, the last room, to announce his arrival and discovery of the temple.
Since the days of Belzoni, the great temple has repeatedly been decisively purified by Lysius during his great expedition in the years 1842-1845 and by Marbet in 1869 and finally Barsanti in 1910. The last cleaning was the most complete, as it resulted in discovering a cabin on the north side of the facade, previously unknown to me. Prasanthi protected the temple from the constant torrent of sand, so he built high walls over the high plateau from which the sand flow begins to block the sweeping sandy stream and divert its course so that the temple remains immortal for thousands of years as its builder wanted it 3300 years ago in a march Immortality and eternity.
Pharaonic genius.
Saving Abu Simbel temples from drowning:
In 1959, international calls began to save the temples of Abu Simbel from drowning due to the high water level of the Nile after the construction of the High Dam. Indeed, in 1964, the International Organization of UNESCO responded to these calls. The process of saving the temples of Abu Simbel began at $40 million, or a budget of 14 million pounds. An Egyptian was collected to save the temple, as Egypt paid a third of the cost and the American people a third. In contrast, the last third came as donations from the peoples of several countries, and the labour force was entirely from Egyptian workers.
The rescue operation took place by dividing the temples of Ramses II, and his wife, Queen Nefertari, into blocks.