Back with the Pharaohs - Abu Simbel Temples
Duration: Half Day
Egypt boasts a wealth of magnificent archeological treasures, many of which have been protected under the UNESCO World Heritage convention. This excursion will introduce you to the majestic Temples of Abu Simbel, one of the most impressive monuments in the world. Step back in time and gain a glimpse of Egypt’s fascinating ancient history on a day of discovery and wonder.
Located on the western bank of Lake Nasser in the region of Nubia in Southern Egypt (now northern Sudan), the awe-inspiring Abu Simbel Temples have to be seen to be believed. The twin temples of Ramses II and Nerfertari were constructed during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II in the 13th century BC to honour himself and his queen. They were also dedicated to the most important gods of the New Kingdom: Ptah (the creator god of Memphis), Amun-Re (the great god of Thebes) and Re-Horakhty (god of the rising sun). The entrance to the Greater Temple is guarded by four colossal statues of Ramses II, whilst eight further statues stand inside.
The beautifully decorated interior walls depict offerings to the gods as well as historic events and victories of ancient Egypt’s greatest king; one of the most important being his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh over the Hittite Empire. At the entrance of the Lesser Temple, dedicated to Ramses’ chief wife Nefertiti and the goddess Hathor, stand statues of the queen with her husband. Visitors will see many reliefs and inscriptions on walls and pillars throughout the complex whilst exploring the beautiful chambers, forecourt and large hypostyle halls.
The complex was originally carved out of the sandstone rock further down the cliff, but during the 1960s these colossal statues were moved 200 feet higher to protect them from being submerged in the rising waters of Lake Nasser reservoir during the completion of the world famous High Dam on the River Nile. At the time, Lake Nasser was the world's largest artificial lake. The relocation of the temples was an historic event in itself. This famous archeological site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979 as part of the "Nubian Monuments", which extends from Abu Simbel down the river to Philae near Aswan.
Your tour will include an early morning flight from Aswan. The excursion isn’t guided so enjoy free time to explore the sacred complex at your leisure, or join one of the many official guided tours once you get there. Not to be missed, a visit to the Temples of Abu Simbel will be one of the highlights of your holiday in Egypt.
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