abu simbel
Africa,  Egypt

Abu Simbel – Egypt, buried temples and mirage

Abu Simbel is one of the greatest tourist attractions of Egypt, right behind the Pyramids of Giza. It’s located on the far southern part of Egypt, just below the Sudan border, actually in the middle of nowhere, or more specifically, in the middle of the Sahara desert, far from any civilization. Reason enough to be here as life here is very different than in the rest of Egypt.

Egipt - Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel consists of two temples: Ramses’es II and his wife Nefertari’s. The Temple of Ramses is dedicated to the sun gods Amon-Re, Re-Horachte and to Ptah – the god of arts and crafts. The entrance to the temple makes an amazing impression, it’s decorated with huge statues of Ramses II, each of them is 20 meters high. At the feet of the pharaoh, you can see the other members of the royal family: his wife Nefertari and children.

Egipt - Abu Simbel

The entire temple is about 30 meters high. Inside, you can see numerous reliefs depicting pharaoh’s power and courage. The interior of the temple is quite dark, while during the two days of the year on February 22nd and October 22nd, the figures of the sun gods Amun-Re and (Ra-Horakhty and Amon-Re) are illuminated with sunrays.

Egipt - Abu Simbel

The nearby Nefertari Temple was dedicated to Ramses’ beloved wife and the goddess of love and beauty – Hathor. It’s a copy of Ramses Temple. At its entrance, you can see four statues representing Rameses II and two depicting Nefertari.

Egipt - Abu Simbel

More interestingly, this is the only place where the statue of the pharaoh and his wife are equal, usually the wives of the rulers were “placed” in their legs. It means that Nefertari had a very big  independence and power. We mustn’t forget that Ramses II had a great weakness for women. It is estimated that he had about 170 children. In the interior of the temple, you can see reliefs depicting Nefertari.

Egipt - Abu Simbel

What’s more interesting, nowadays the temples are located in a completely different place than they were built. In the years 1964 – 1968 they’re relocated. The need for relocation was caused by the construction of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile, which threatened to flood the temples.

Egipt - Abu Simbel

The temples were then divided into pieces, which were then placed like Lego blocks on a specially created hill, so that the waters of the artificially created Lake Nasser would not pose a threat to them.

Egipt- Jezioro Nasera
Egipt- Jezioro Nasera

The location of the temple of Ramses was also reconstructed so as to obtain the effect of illuminating the statues twice a year. More interestingly, the works on behalf of UNESCO were managed by a Polish archaeologist – Kazimierz Michałowski.

Egipt - Abu Simbel

The temples in Abu Simbel are not the only reason why you should go here. The amazing desert landscapes and the opportunity to see how people live here, in my opinion, are even a greater attraction than the temples themselves.

Sahara
Sahara
Egipt - Abu Simbel
Egipt - Abu Simbel
Egipt - Abu Simbel

Characteristic architecture can be seen here. The buildings are topped with domes, which allows for better ventilation. Proper air movement is very important, because the temperature here can reach up to 122°F .

Egipt - Abu Simbel
Egipt - Abu Simbel

Only some of the buildings here are made of brick. In general, you can often see various types of huts or makeshift tents. At first glance, you can see that life here is not easy.

Egipt
Egipt
Egipt
Egipt

In the desert you can see some irrigation systems, but there is no vegetation.

Egipt

So what exactly do people do here for a living? The proximity of the border with Sudan makes the nearby town of Abu Sunbul an important trade center. On the road, you can find mainly trucks transporting various goods. Often you can see the cattle that are brought here from Sudan.

Egipt
Egipt
Egipt
Egipt

Along the road, you can see numerous warehouses, stalls, tires and animal bones – probably cattle that did not survive the long journey.

Egipt
Egipt
Egipt

You can see mostly men on the streets, while women can be seen at the bus stops.

Egipt
Egipt

And finally, one more surprise 🙂 On the way towards Aswan you can see a mirage. The sight made an amazing impression on me, it actually looked as if the rocks were reflected in the water surface. It’s a pity that the photos, unfortunately, do not reflect this phenomenon.

Egipt - Sahara
Egipt  Sahara
 

Who I am... I'm just an ordinary girl, who once believed that dreams come true, and since then, I’ve been pursuing them consistently. My adventure with travelling started in 2008 and since then, I've seen a lot of interesting places which I describe on my blog. I’m interested in the history and culture of the countries that I visit and that’s why I travel as much as I can. However, in addition to the preservation of my memories, the main purpose of the blog is to show you that dreams come true and you can travel often and cheap!

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