Bookmark and Share

Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel

1. Stepping inside

2. Temple of Hathor

3. Saved in 1964


Open LookLex Encyclopaedia

Open the online Arabic language course

The frightening temple

Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel

The isolation of the temple of Abu Simbel is part of the reason for its existence. Here, on the point where Nubia ends and Egypt begins, Pharaoh Ramses 2 decided about 3,300 years ago to erect a temple with a shape and dimensions that should frighten invaders from the south.
Four 20 metre high statues of himself stare towards any possible invader from the south, telling them what power they will face if they continue north. For the brave who should dare to enter, large wall decorations show how Ramses kills Hittites, Nubians and Libyans — the main enemies of Egypt in those days.
The temple was officially erected in veneration of the major gods of Amon and Re-Harakhte, but Ramses was an unusually immodest Pharaoh, and if anything, this temple tries to indicate that he himself is larger than any god. It might be considered a logical breach, but his claim to divinity is granted by the gods he immediately overshadows.
Beneath the legs of Ramses 2, his family members are presented in dramatically smaller statues like his mother, Muttuy, Queen Nefertari, Prince Amonherkhepshef. Dwarfed by Ramses, they are still large than life. In a niche right above the entrance, there is a statue of Re-Harakhti in the shape of a falcon-headed figure, and a figure of Maat.
The second Ramses was damaged by earthquake in 27 BCE. His crushed head and torso lies right in front of the entrance area.
Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel

By Tore Kjeilen