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               Abu Simbel - temples of Ramesses II and queen Nefertari

Site (22o21' N  31o38' E) of two rock-cut temples of Ramesses II, located about 250 km south-east of Aswan. The temples were discovered by the traveller Jean-Louis Burckhard in 1813 and cleared by Giovanni Belzoni four years later. The largest temple is dedicated to Amon-Re, Re-Horakhte, Ptah and the deified Ramesses II. The facade is dominated by four colossal seated figures of Ramesses II wearing the double crown and nemes headcloth. Between the two pairs of figures is the entrance to the cavernous interior of the monument. The monument thus symbolized Ramesses II's domination of Nubia. The great temple is precisely aligned so that twice a year (20 February and 20 October) the rising sun illuminates the sanctuary and seated statues of the gods at the rearmost point of the temple.
 
 
 

A
little  to the north of the great temple lies a small rock-cut temple dedicated to queen Nefertari and the goddess Hathor of Abshek. This facade features two standing figures of the king, flanking those of his queen, on each side of the entrance. A passage leads to a six-pillared hall with sistrum-capital columns, followed by a vestibule, and finally the sanctuary, where a statue of the goddess Hathor protects Ramesses II.


I
n the 1960's these temples were threatened by the rising waters of Lake Nasser resulting from the construction of the Aswan High Dam and were dismantled, moved and reassembled on 210 m further inland and 65 m higher, through the co-operation of archeologists and engineers working under a UNESCO initiative.
 
Temple of Ramesses II in new localisation Temple of Nefertari in new localisation

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