A visit to Abu Simbel – Nile River Cruise
This morning, those who chose to visit Abu Simbel had a very early morning start. By now we knew the routine and our mourns and complaints were just noises we had to make in order to make ourselves feel better. There was some chaos at the airport, with multiple security checks, but hey, this all adds to the travel experience.
The stunning cliff-face that greeted us on arrival made all the morning’s hassles pretty worthwhile. There were four colossal enthroned statues of Ramses II wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. The 33m high facade is breathtaking. The Great Temple of Abu Simbel was built in the 13th century to honor Ramses II. The Temple facade was buried in sand for centuries and only rediscovered by Swiss explorer Jean-Louis Burckhardt in 1813. The four colossi signify a unified Egypt.
When you go in the Inner Santuary, you’ll see statues of Ramses II sitting with Amun-Ra, Ptah & Ra_Harakhty. On two days of the year the sun’s rays reach these once gold-covered statues. In the hypostyle hall, the colossi on the southern pillars wear the Upper Egypt crown, whereas the northern ones wear the double crown of Upper & Lower Egypt. At the Temple gate, you’ll see the giant key ‘The Ankh’ that locks the Temple door. The Ankh was a symbol of eternal life for the ancient Egyptians.
On the other side you’ll find the Temple of Hathor, built by Ramses II to honor his favorite wife, Nefertari. Statues of goddess Hathor alternate with Ramses II on the facade of Queen Nefertari’s Temple. Its Hypostyle hall has Hathor-headed pillars. The temple is decorated with scenes of Ramses slaying Egypt’s enemies, watched upon by Nefertari. In the inner sanctuary, you’ll see a statue of Hathor in the form of a cow.
After an amazing experience, we flew back to Aswan at midday. Abu Simbel is an experience not to be missed, even if initially you think that the cost is a bit steep for the budget.