The enduring temples of Abu Simbel is an exquisite sight only a day trip away from the city of Aswan.
The Temples of Abu Simbel have defied time and destruction more than any other structure in Egypt. And today, they constitute a cornerstone of Pharaonic architecture. With the immense relief figures of Ramesses II posing on the exterior, the rock-cut temples carry a much-deserved glory through history.
Egypt’s most famed pharaoh, Ramesses II, ordered its construction as a tribute to the gods. Rising with its intimidating figure next to the serene waters of Lake Nasser, Abu Simbel is one of Egypt’s borderline structures. During the 1960 Aswan Dam construction, an international team of engineers led by UNESCO relocated the entire complex to its current spot to keep it from being submerged.
The endeavors to preserve this colossal monument were more than successful. Not only did they reassemble the structure, but the engineering feat managed to recreate the ritual of solar alignment. Each year on the 22nd of February and October, sunlight penetrates 200 meters into the Great Temple. In the farthest end, it illuminates the statues of the two gods and Ramesses II. The god of the underworld, however, remains in complete darkness.
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