Abu Simbel, Aswan, High Dam, Temple of Philae

Abu Simbel Temple Sunrise Egypt
Abu Simbel Temple at Sunrise - Egypt
Ramses II Defeating His Enemies Abu Simbel Temple Egypt
Famous Relief of Ramses II Defeating His Enemies
- Abu Simbel Temple, Egypt
Temple of Isis Philae Egypt
Wayne at the Temple of Isis at Philae, Egypt
Muslim Woman Aswan Egypt
Muslim Woman - Aswan, Egypt
Abu Simbel Temple Egypt
 Rare Tourist-Free Abu Simbel Temple - Egypt
Market Aswan Egypt
Market - Aswan, Egypt
Wayne Dunlap Abu Simbel Temple Egypt
Wayne at Abu Simbel Temple 
- Egypt
Muslim Women Shopping Aswan Egypt
Muslim Women Shopping - Aswan, Egypt
Abu Simbel, Aswan, High Dam, and Temple of Philae, Egypt (5/3/2010) - One of the favorites of our visit to Egypt was the Abu Simbel temples (you can see why in these photos)! 

These two massive temples were carved out of solid rock and completed in 1224 BC (over 3,200 year ago!), the Sun Temple of Abu Simbel was one of six rock temples erected in Nubia (now southern Egypt) during the long reign of the deified Pharaoh Ramses II and his beautiful queen Nefertiti. It has four 65-foot-high statues of Ramses II.

The purpose of the temples of Abu Simbel was to impress Egypt's southern neighbors - they sure impressed us. Inside Abu Simbel, one of the most famous reliefs in Egypt shows Ramses II defeating his enemies, the Hittites (see photo). 

What makes this site even more amazing is that both Abu Simbel temples were relocated in their entirety on an artificial hill above the Aswan High Dam reservoir when the dam was built. Between 1964 and 1968, both of the entire Abu Simbel temples were cut into large blocks (up to 30 tons and averaging 20 tons) by hand saws, dismantled and reassembled in a new location back from the river, in what many consider one of the greatest feats of archaeological engineering.  

The city of Aswan, located in Nubia on a beautiful section of the Nile River, is one of the driest inhabited places in the world. The people in Aswan count their rainfall as events of a decade. As of early 2001, the last rain was six years earlier. As of October 2009[update], the last rainfall was a thunderstorm in May 2006. 

In Nubian settlements here, they generally do not bother to roof all of the rooms in their houses. Aswan was important in ancient Egypt because the granite stone quarries are located here. It became a prosperous marketplace at the crossroads of the ancient caravan routes – a position Aswan still holds today (with tourism now the key element). The exotic Aswan market has the modern tourist items but is also a market for locals and has rudiments that remind you of ancient trading – very interesting.

We started our Nile River felucca boat trip from Aswan (see more on that in our blog post Egypt Nile River Felucca Boat Trip).

A day trip out of Aswan took us to the famous Aswan High Dam - a modern feat of engineering undertaken with Russian assistance. The by–product of the Aswan High Dam is Lake Nasser - the world’s largest artificial lake (about a trillion cubic feet of water)! Egypt’s fast growing population (now near 83 million) demanded more cultivation of agricultural land that was increased by 30% by the High Dam. Because the High Dam stopped the flow of fertile silt essential for thousands of years, an unfortunate side effect has been the need for more artificial fertilizers as well as parasites in the irrigation canals.

Map of Egypt
Map of Egypt
Continuing, we enjoyed a short boat trip to Agilika Island for a visit to the Temple of Isis at Philae (see photo), another great Egyptian temple relocated after building the High Dam. The Temple of Isis at Philae was very sacred to ancient Egyptians because Iris became the greatest of Egyptian gods even worshiped across the Roman Empire.

For more about amazing Egypt and the Temples and treasures along the Nile River, please see our 5 other blog posts:

and Egypt’s beautiful Red Sea resorts:

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  1. Egypt is one of the most visited countries in the world and Abu Simbel Temples here are one of the major attractions for tourists here. The most unique feature of this temple is that king and the queen are of equal height. It’s truly surprising because for the only time in Egyptian art, the statue of the king and his consort are equal in size.

  2. This article provided many happy memories of my summer working as a Nile Cruise rep - Abu Simbel was without doubt the highlight of my weekly jaunts. Thank you for an informative article.

  3. I think this is one of the best trips you can do. Nice article. greetings.


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