Abu Simbel - Great Temple of Ramesses II
Abu Simbel - The Great Temple of Ramesses II
Abu Simbel is a temple built by Ramesses II (c.1279-1213 B.C.E.) in ancient Nubia, where he wished to demonstrate his power and his divine nature. Four colossal (65 feet/20 meters high) statues of him sit in pairs flanking the entrance. The head and torso of the statue to the left of the entrance fell during ancient times, probably the result of an earthquake. 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.
The temple was cut out of the sandstone cliffs above the Nile River in an area near the Second Cataract. When the High Dam was being constructed in the early 1960s, international cooperation assembled funds and technical expertise to move this temple to higher ground so that it would not be inundated by the waters of Lake Nasser.