UNESCO World Heritage Site, world famous, country landmark
Scott Gilchrist, Archivision Inc.
Abu Simbel is a set of two temples near the border of Egypt with Sudan, in ancient Nubia, where King Ramesses II (ca. 1279-1213 BCE) wished to demonstrate his power and his divine nature. It was constructed for the pharaoh Ramesses II who reigned for 67 years during the 13th century BC (19th Dynasty). The temples were cut from the sandstone cliffs above the Nile River in an area near the Second Cataract and shifted to higher ground in the 1960s by UNESCO as the waters of Lake Nasser began to rise following completion of the Aswan High Dam. *** The Great Temple is dedicated to Ramesses II and a statue of him is seated with three other gods within the innermost part of the rock-cut temple (the sanctuary). The temple's facade is dominated by four enormous seated defied statues of the Pharaoh (each over 20 meters or 67 feet high) wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. One has been damaged since ancient times (probably the result of an earthquake in 27 BCE). Below the feet of the enthroned King are his traditional enemies: Nubians on the left and Libyans and Hittites on the right. Each throne is decorated with the heraldic plants, the lotus and papyrus, entwined around the hieroglyph for 'unite', meant to underline the fact that Ramesses is in firm control of both Upper and Lower Egypt. Around the king's legs are statues of his family - they are diminutive in comparison with those of Ramesses but are actually more than life size. In front of the statues of the king are a row of statues representing the hawk-headed sun god Re-Hoakhty. This temple faces the east, and Re-Horakhty, one manifestation of the sun god, is shown inside the niche directly above the entrance. The alignment of the temple is such that twice a year the sun's rays reach into the innermost sanctuary to illuminate the seated statues of Ptah, Amun-Re, Ramesses II, and Re-Horakhty.
Archivision Inc. (all images copyright Scott Gilchrist / archivision.com)