First There Was a Mountain

Trip Start Feb 28, 2013
1
5
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Trip End Mar 22, 2013


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Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, March 5, 2013

6 March 2013

Day Trip to Temples at Abu Simbel - 290 km each way
-- Round Trip Transport to Abu Simbel 75Le each
-- Site Entry; 95Le ($14),  adult foreigner price

 
Convoy

The early morning events (convoy forming, vehicle and paperwork inspection) went off without a hitch and the large Toyota van was really roomy and comfortable. Most of the drive was in the dark but the last hour we could see nothing but flat desert in all directions. Near Abu Simbel town, trees were planted near the road.

We arrived in a convoy of roughly 30 police escorted vehicles, 6 of which were large deluxe tour group buses. Once off the busses, the group tourists hung back while the independent travelers went past the long row of hawker stalls to the ticket widow.
 
 
Temple of Ramses II Bathed in Morning Light

We were in front of Ramses II Temple by 7:40 and the morning light from the east was perfect as we snapped photos of the four amazing 20 meter high sitting Colossi of Pharaohs.

 
A column of eight 6 meter tall stone guards welcomed us inside the inner sanctum of the temple where photography is not allowed. On the left wall was relief carvings of men on chariots in a battle scene. Tall pillars were adorned with relief of tall standing women in a peaceful pose with one foot slightly extended as if they were beginning to step forward.

The walls were covered with hieroglyphics and other scenes. We walked through the subtle-lighted chambers (storerooms) with more beautiful and amazingly old (1274 BC) wall carvings. No paint color, vessels or unattached artifacts remain inside. The flesh and blood guard handed us the weighty brass gate-key, key of life, and snapped a photo of us at the door.
 

 
 
 
Nefertari & Goddess Hathor
 
100 meters away is the Nefertari Temple dedicated to the goddess Hathor. Nefertari was Ramses' most beloved of his many wives. It too is filled with equally impressive but smaller carvings and statues.
 

  
Lost in the Shifting Sands
 
The two massive temples were hewn out of sandstone cliffs by pharaoh Ramses II 3,200 years ago and were subsequently lost to the sands until rediscovered in 1813.


 
They Moved an Entire Mountain!

Near the exit, we went inside a small display room which described how, in the 1960's, the mountain containing the temples was cut into 16,000 blocks and reassembled 60 meters higher on the nearby plateau to save it from the rising waters of the newly expanded dams of Lake Nasser. The UNESCO sponsored feat is as impressive as the original construction!
  
 
Back to Aswan

We were in our nice Toyota van at the 9:45 am appointed time for the return convoy journey back to Aswan.

We arrived in Aswan at 2:00 pm. We spent time napping before going out to check out other feluccas.
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