Temples, dams and Gods
Abu Simbel Temple Travel Blog› entry 3 of 6 › view all entries
At 4am the group assembles in the hotel foyer and are all handed a breakfast box and head outside to a coach. Driven to the other side of Aswan, we meet the convoy we are to travel in under police escort, through the desert for 3 hours to the Temple of Abu Simbel on the other side of the great lake. Police pass a mirror on a stick around the undercarriage of the coach to inspect it for bombs, we get our own policeman complete with at least two guns and the huge convoy starts out into the desert.
Halfway into the trip there seems to be an incident happening as two coaches ahead of us pull up and one driver gesticulates to the other as they jump out.
Now the Abu Simbel temples are billed as 'Most Impressive Temple' and there is the Greater and smaller. Ramses II built these, one for himself and one for his wife, some 62 kms away from where they are to be found today, in the side of a cliff. When the great Aswan Dam Mark 111 was built and the waters rose, it was apparent that the temples would be totally submerged along with other ancient places so it was decided to hold a competition to decide how to remedy the situation. The winning entry was to cut it out of the mountain and relocate it. It is just 10 kms from the Sudan border.
It is simply awesome and one can't imagine what it would have been like to work on the project. Large amounts of hieroglyphics carved all around the walls and Rasha sets about describing how they are read in a nutshell for she and other tour guides are not allowed to talk to their group inside. A cartouche is an oval shape and the markings inside will contain the names of a Royal person. Lines are read in the direction of the faces of the animals or birds depicted, learn the key of life symbol as it must be one of the most common symbols. Spend several hours here just wandering through and coping with the heat. A policeman spots us wandering up the pathway to the coach parking area and asks me if I would like my photo taken with him.
Make the three hour journey back to Aswan in the convoy looking out for the mirage but fall asleep before I see it. The purpose of the convoy is that at this site in 1992 terrorist attacks took place and we are beginning to see the impact this has had on tourism some 14 years on. Back at the hotel we collect our bags from the foyer and it is at this point that the group splits in two directions. Some of us have elected to take the two night luxury cruise on a five star floating hotel and the others have opted to adventure on a traditional sail boat called a felluca. Board a mini bus and get driven a short way to our magnificent cruise boat.