The very small village of Abu-Simbel lies 280 km south of Aswan, and only 40 km north of the Sudanese border.Even though it is home to several hotels, the small town is usually overlooked by tourists as a holiday destination.Abu Simbel has become an extremely popular tourist destination, due to its tremendous significance in the world of archaeology. One of the most southerly spots in the whole of Egypt.
The Abu Simbel Temples are the names of two major rock temples that are located in Nubia in the Southern part of Egypt. These temples are situated on the western banks of Lake Nasser that is about 230Km to the south west of Aswan. The area is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is also popularly known as the Nubian monuments in the area. These temples run from Abu Simbel down the river to a place called Philae that is near Aswan.
The above twin temples are originally craved out of mountains in the region and this was done during the reign of the famous Pharaoh Ramessess II around the 13 century BC. This monument was made as a lasting monument to himself and his Queen the renowned Nefertari. This monument was made to celebrate his alleged victory at the Battle Of Kadesh and with another purpose to intimidate the Nubian neighbors in the region. This ancient monument was relocated totally in the year 1960 on an artificial hill that is located high above the reservoir of the Aswan Dam.
The above relocation had to be carried out with the sole purpose of preventing them from being submerged in the Lake Nasser when it was created. This lake was the massive reservoir of water that was created after the making of the Aswan High Dam on the River Nile. These twin temples are also considered to be one of the most popular tourist attractions of Egypt till this date.
The history of the temples began in the year 1244 BCE when construction of it started. The building of the temple lasted for 20years and it was known as the “Temple Of Ramesses beloved by Amun”. This temple was one of the six rock temples that was made by Ramesses II in Nubia. The main aim of the construction of this temple was to impress the southern neighbors of the King and to reinforce the religion of Egypt in the area. There are many historians that have laid down that the design of Abu Simbel displays both pride and ego in its construction. It symbolizes power and this is why it is so famous today.
With the passing years these temples were covered with sand and it covered the main temples up to the knees of the statutes. This temple was neglected till 1813 when the Swiss orientalist JL Burckhardt has found the top frieze of the main temple. Along with the Italian explorers Giovanni Belzoni he was unable to dig into the entrance of the temple. Belzoni returned in the year 1817 and this time he was successful in making his entry into the temple. He took everything that was valuable and portable with him. The Tour Guides in the region attribute the name of the site to a young boy called Abu Simbel who guided these early discoveries to the buried temple site.In order to come to this area most of the people visit it by plane and there are millions of people that flock the region every year to get a glimpse of these two famous Egyptian temples.