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Abu Simbel

At Dawn, Abu Simbel

The temples at Abu Simbel were built on the bank of the Nile about 150 miles south of Aswan, by Ramses II, who lived roughly 1279-1212 BC. One goes there by air (ONLY, in 2001) and hopes to get on the flight that gets there by dawn, to see the changes the rising sun brings to the temple. They turn from a flaming gold to a dull red-brown, and at the solstice the depths of the temple blaze forth and the inner sanctuary is immersed in light.

Half hour later
Inner sanctuary

The temples were moved up from the bank of the Nile in Ramses being moved in 19681968, to accommodate the rising levels of the water as the Aswan Dam was completed.

The hill in which they now repose looks puny but nonetheless the statues at the entrance and within are impressive, and because the interior is still enclosed - not exposed to the sky as that in most of the other temples, it seems quiet and almost holy, in spite of the plane-load of tourists within.

 

Interior collonade of Ramses statues, 2001

interior collonade of Ramses statues, 2001

Same collonade, David Roberts, 1860
Same collonade, David Roberts, 1860
Nubian slaves on interior wall
Nubian slaves on interior wall

Ramses rampant, interior wall
Ramses rampant, interior wall

The temple of a favorite wife, a Nubian, Nefertari, is charming in its own right.
Nefertari, favorite wife
Nefertari's temple

 

 
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