We boarded a passenger van for the 3hr drive to Abul Simbel from Aswan at the crack of dawn, so that we’d beat the groups of tourists flying there (and to beat the nearly 120-degree-temperatures). When we arrived, it was immediately obvious why the place is so popular. It’s next to the largest man-made reservoir in the word, Lake Nasser, which was created from the dam there. And just behind the lake lay the temples.
Ramses II’s temple and the nearby temple for his favorite wife, Nefertari, were awesome displays of art, history, and architecture.
We walked between the 3.5 (one had been knocked down) enormous statues of Ramses II to enter his temple, where we saw elaborate scenes of hunting and battle victories inside, plus gifts to the gods.
Then we walked next door to Nefartari’s temple, which depicted scenes of love and family inside, plus gifts to the goddesses.
It was the hottest, but most impressive, day of our trip to Egypt so far.
Making it even more interesting was our guide’s belief–and the indication that it’s the belief of many other Egyptologists–that Ramses II is the infamous “Pharoah” from the Old Testament’s “Exodus,” which my bride and I re-read shortly before our trip. Upon learning such, I couldn’t NOT stand at the base of the enormous statue of Ramses II and exclaim he needed to “let my people go.” He silently obliged.
Abu Simbel is hard to get to–it’s basically at the bottom of Egypt–but it was such an impressive sight to behold. We were very grateful to have added it to our itinerary. Little did we know, that the most impressive of Egypt’s treasures, however, was yet to come in Luxor…