Abu Simbel Egypt

Be awed by Egyptian Gods at Abu Simbel

When your footsteps echo through the ancient Egyptian temple, Abu Simbel, you can feel the millennium it’s seen. Jordan Taylor shows her Egyptian knowledge as she guides us through this ancient Egyptian wonder. To find out more about Jordan, visit the bio page of Jordan Taylor and her Youtube channel Travellight.

Jordan Taylor, of Travellight, shows us Abu Simbel Temple…

Abu Simbel Temple has an incredible history.

Built at the height of Ramses the Great’s rule, (perhaps the greatest Pharaoh of ancient Egypt, who reigned over 32 centuries ago), Abu Simbel is awe inspiring. What makes it so special? Three things. Firstly it was lost was for millennium under shifting desert sands which has served to preserve it beautifully. The second was the scandalous nature of it second temple at the time of it construction, and the third is the staggering precision of it’s engineering…

Dedicated to the gods Amun, Ra-Horakhty, and Ptah, as well as to the deified Rameses himself, it was constructed so that exactly twice each year, on the anniversaries of Ramses birth and coronation—the 22 of October and 22 of February respectively—something special would happen. On these two days only, sunlight would shine through the great front doors right to the very back of the temple and illuminate statues of Amun, Ra-Horakhty, and Ramses (but not Ptah, God of darkness).

When the entire temple was moved 65 meters up and 200 meters back in 1964-8, in the flooding of the Nile River to create Lake Nesser as part of the construction of the Aswan High Dam, all the technology and knowledge built up over 3200 years could not recreate the same precision; the lighting of the Gods is now one day off.

Abu Simbel entrance

Abu Simbel entrance

Not only did Ramses the Great construct this huge temple to commemorate his victory at the battle of Kadesh, he also ordered the construction of a second temple, the Temple of Hathor and Nefertari, 100 meters to one side. Hathor was an ancient Egyptian Goddess, and Nefertari was Ramses’ favorite queen. The design of this second temple was considered scandalous at the time and not only because this was only the second time an Egyptian king had dedicated a temple to a queen. Traditionally, the statues of Egyptian queens never stood higher than the knees of their kings, but Ramses had Nefertari’s statues built to full size as a symbol of his love and respect for her.

Abu Simbel friezes

Abu Simbel friezes

Tips: Visit Abu Simbel as part of a week long Nile cruise, and take in the best of Egypt’s incredible history.

Ask your guide to try to ensure you are the first guests to enter the temple for the day, so that when you enter, you are the only ones there and your footsteps will echo through the temple like they did over 3,000 years ago. An eerie but amazing experience!

When to go: Year around but better November to March when the searing Egyptian heat is reduced.

Where: Lake Nesser, southern Egypt.

Egyptian statues Abu Simbel

Egyptian Gods lit by the sun twice a year inside Abu Simbel