Rames Temple at Abu Simbel, by Don Hogle

Trip Start Oct 31, 2011
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Trip End Nov 14, 2011


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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I can honestly say I thought it a bit extreme to fly from Aswan to Abu Simbel and spend one night to see yet another temple.

I couldn't have been more wrong.  And I realized it as we were flying in, the moment when we could clearly see the temple at the water’s edge with the huge, seated figures of Ramses II carved directly into the hillside.  It was spectacular.

Our guide astutely waited to the end of the day to take us there, when the buses of daytrippers who’d driven three hours across the desert from Aswan had already left.  We had the place essentially to ourselves.

The site is even more spectacular when you take into account that Abu Simbel, like the Philae Temple in Aswan, was moved when the Aswan dam was built from a lower location that is now underwater.  But in the case of Abu Simbel, the entire face of the hillside out of which and into which the temple was hewn, was cut up in a grid pattern and moved along with it.  A concrete dome recreated the hill, and the face of the hill and the temple itself were fitted onto and into it.  The backside of the artificial hill is covered in desert sand.

We’re treated to an additional spectacle: the setting sun ignites the desert on the other side of the lake, and the waters of Lake Nasser reflect the colors of the sky in which a full moon is rising.

We stay for the sound and light show.  There’s no dog of any kind involved, but we all agree it’s the best show of this kind we’ve seen in Egypt.  We’re reluctant to leave afterwards, as the temple lit at night is both beautiful and mysterious.  Undoubtedly Ramses II intended the temple to have a certain effect, and it still works its magic.
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Comments

mohammed rafiuddin on

that's nice dan your narration about lake nasser is spectatulur

Bill Vayens on

Having been one of those who got up at 3am to drive through the desert from Aswan to Abu Simbel, I can tell you that flying/staying over night sounds like a much better option. Driving through the desert in a caravan, with only the lead vehicle using their headlamps, can be an unnerving experience!

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