Abu Simble and lake Nasser Overview
The construction of the High Dam in Egypt resulted in the formation of the largest artificial man made lake called lake Nasser which is 500 miles long and provides water and electricity for the whole Egypt. The formation of this lake endangered the monuments in the area. resulting in the relocation of these temples by the UNESCO. The two Abu Simble Temples constructed by Ramsis II one for himself and one for his wife are considered among the most magnificent monuments in the world. The removal of the temples and their rebuild was a historic event in itself. It is said that the sun shines on the face of the king twice a year once on his birthday and once on his coronation day. The newly formed Lake Nasser enabled the creation of a new kind of cruise to visit the temples in the area such as Amada temple which is a sand stone temple with brightly painted relief and was moved 2.5 km from its original place. The Wadi Seboua Temple, the Fortress of Kasr Ibrahim.
- Opening time: Daily 6am to 5pm (summer); 6am to 4pm (winter).
The two temples of Abu Simbel, the Temple of Ramses II and the temple of Hathor (the Sun God) dedicated to his wife Nefertari, were cut out of the sandstone cliffs more than 3,000 years ago. Not only are these temples among the most magnificent in the world, but also their removal and reconstruction are recorded as a major historical feat during the construction of the High Dam on Lake Nasser. The monuments were threatened with submersion, and after an appeal by UNESCO in co-operation with the Egyptian Government they were dismantled and reassembled exactly, about 197ft (60m) higher up. Abu Simbel was carved into a cliff on the banks of Nile as a grand display of the power and territory of Rameses the Great. Anyone coming down the Nile from Nubia would sail beside it. It's grandeur was meant to intimidate and awe. The sight that first greets the visitor is that of the four colossal statues guarding the entrance to the Grand Hall of the Temple of Ramses. It was a reminder that those who passed beneath the giant statues were under the governance of the Pharaoh and subject to his majesty. The interior is highly decorated with relief paintings and is supported by eight statues of Ramses acting as giant pillars. Leading off the hall are painted sanctuaries and chambers. The Temple of Hathor is smaller and simpler, also with statues guarding the entrance and a manifestation of the Sun God portrayed above. It is aligned in such a way that the sun's rays reach inside to illuminate the statues of Ptah, Amun-Re, Ramesses II, and Re- Horakhty twice a year.
Amada Temple of Nubia:
Is small, however contains several important historical inscriptions and is also significant as the oldest of the Lake Nasser temples. One of its attractions is the carved on a stela on the rear wall of the sanctuary in the third year of Amenhotep II describes an Egyptian military campaign into Asia, and his bringing back the bodies of rebel chieftains to hang on the walls of Thebes and one on the prow of his ship sailing through Nubia as a warning. Another, carved on a stela on the northern side of the entrance doorway describes a Libyan invasion of Egypt in the fourth year of Merenptah, the son of Ramesses II. The temple is situated about 180 kilometers south of the High Dam, and was dedicated to the important New Kingdom gods, Re-Horakhty and Amun-Re. It was originally built on the orders of Tuthmosis III and his son, Amenhotep II during Egypt's New Kingdom 18th Dynasty. The hypostyle hall was a later addition by Tuthmosis IV. Seti I had a hand in some small additions, such as a large pylon with a sandstone gateway abutting against the hypostyle hall, along with other 19th Dynasty rulers including his son, Ramesses II, who seems to have involved himself in some way with almost every Nubian temple built prior to his reign. However, Ramesses II's restoration of the temple has been noted as rather a poor effort, probably employing the use of local artists of inferior skill. Of course, Ramesses II also added a number of his own temples to the Nubian landscape during his reign.
Wadi Seboua Temple:
The Wadi Seboua temple of Ramesses II is dedicated to two Gods: Amon Ra and Ra Harmakis and was first documented in 1905-7 by the first Egyptian Expedition of the Oriental Institute, led by James Henry Breasted. The temple today is situated 4 KM west of its ancient site. It is one of the group of temples relocated by UNESCO.
Fortress of Kasr Ibrim:
The endangered fortress of Kasr Ibrim is on a summit which is strewn with remains from the Nubian pharaohs and Roman-era inhabitants. Kasr Ibrim was the strategic site of a fortress during the pharaonic times due to its elevated position. Through the Middle ages, a stone church was erected there which was later converted into mosque. Kasr Ibrim is the only construction still maintaining its original location.