Fabulous Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel Travel Blog

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Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel

Of the recollections I have of the uproar over the creation of lake Nasser, the most vivid was the one over the threatened inundation of the temples of Ramses II and Nefertari at Abu Simbel.  The more famous, the temple of Ramses II, is most notable for its four huge statues of that pharaoh adorning its entrance.  These temples, like the one at Philae, were saved do to the Herculean efforts of UNESCO.  It must be noted, however, that, though these and other temples were saved, an estimated 85% of the archeological sites in the area were lost, presumably forever, to the waters of Lake Nasser.  That tragedy, combined with the much more personal one of the upheaval to the lives of the Nubians calls into question the relative value of the High Dam. Sometimes the price of “progress” is unacceptably high.

In any case, Karl and Gisela convinced us that a trip to Abu Simbel was not to be missed so, along with them and Val, Ian, Linda, and John, we signed up for an optional excursion to see it.

Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel
  The wake-up was for 7 for an 8:00 departure but we were up by 6:15.  Our flight was Air Memphis 1203 and the ticket said departure was at 9:30.  However, at the gate we learned that it was 1207 that left then at 9:30; ours flight was at 10:00.  Confusion reigned   The airplane was an absolutely ancient DC-9.  I should have checked the identification plate that’s in the doorway of these planes for the details but I’m pretty certain this ones serial number was pretty close to 001! 

At Abu Simbel there was a lot more confusion until we were loaded onto an ancient Tata school bus for the ride to the temple.  The town of Abu Simbel itself actually seemed rather picturesque as we passed through. 

The two temples are absolutely magnificent and well worth the cost and effort of the trip.

Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel
  In addition to the famous statues of Ramses II, there were countless beautiful works on the walls of the temples and the gold storage rooms along the sides of the nave.  Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside of either temple.  As at the Valley of the Kings, tour guides are not allowed inside so Ossama armed us with all kinds of instructions as to what to look for once inside.  Unfortunately, much of this great information was forgotten before we could put it to use.   Regardless, these temples are absolutely fantastic and are, in fact, a "must-see". 

As it was mid-day and we were close to the Sudanese border, it was oppressively hot and the trek back to the parking lot was a difficult one.  We left for the airport at 12:55 and endured total chaos as zillions of people tried to get through security.  By the time we made it through, they were boarding the flight and it took of LONG before the advertised 2:00.  In fact,   we touched down in Aswan at 1:59!

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Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel
Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel
Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel
Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel
Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel
Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel
The gang
The gang
Lin & me
Lin & me
Karl & Gisela
Karl & Gisela
Ramses II
Ramses II
Ramses II
Ramses II
Ramses II
Ramses II
Lake Nassar
Lake Nassar
Lake Nassar
Lake Nassar
Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel
Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel
Temple of Nefertari at Abu Simbel
Temple of Nefertari at Abu Simbel
Temple of Nefertari at Abu Simbel
Temple of Nefertari at Abu Simbel
Temple of Nefertari at Abu Simbel
Temple of Nefertari at Abu Simbel
Temple of Nefertari at Abu Simbel
Temple of Nefertari at Abu Simbel
Temple of Nefertari at Abu Simbel
Temple of Nefertari at Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel
The backside of the complex - rath…
The backside of the complex - rat…
Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel
photo by: ellechic