Abu Simbel in Aswan, Egypt is not a large village, but many tourists go there due to its temples. The complex is known as the Nubian Monuments.
How to Get There
EgyptAir has flights to the village from Cairo daily. There are other airlines that traverse that route. Buses from Cairo and the nearby areas can also take you directly to the site. There are also coach and minibuses that can take you to the village. There is also a boat service available. It goes through Lake Nasser.
What to See
The most impressive sight in Abu Simbel in Aswan is the Great Temple of Ramses II. This was carved out of the mountain between 125 and 1244 BC. However, it was soon forgotten. It wasn’t until 1813 that Jean Louis Burkhart rediscovered it. The structures were built for Ramesses II and three gods: Ptah, Amun and Ra.
There are four Ramses statues, each over 20m tall. The architectural design meant the sun’s rays would shine on all the sculptures except for Ptah. This is appropriate since Ptah was associated with the underworld. Other things to see include the Temple of Hathor, the Sound and Light Show and temple carvings.
The mountain temples were constructed during the reign of Ramesses II (c 13th century BC). Ramesses had them built to honor himself. It was also meant to commemorate his triumph at Kadesh. At the same time, the statues were meant to awe his neighbors.
Building of the complex began around 1244 BC. Egyptologists estimate it took 20 years to finish the project. The temple facade is 35 meters wide. There are 22 baboons on the frieze. The throne of Upper and Lower Egypt are on the pharaoh.
In 1968, however, the whole complex was moved on a man-made hill over the Aswan High Dam. The transfer was necessary because it would be affected by the creation of Lake Nasser.
The minibus ride costs 100 LE. The Great Temple of Ramesses II in Abu Simbel in Aswan is open from 6:00am to 5:00pm. The entrance fee for adults is 90 LE. For students, it is 48 LE. The Light and Sound Show costs 60 LE. It is open 7pm and 8pm during winter. During summer it opens 8pm and 9pm.
If you are taking the bus, remember that the first departs from Aswan at four in the morning. The second leaves 11 am. Both must return by 4 in the afternoon.