Nefertari was the first and main wife of the pharaoh, and apparently very beloved, because she is depicted next to Ramses II almost everywhere where it was portrayed, and she was buried in the most beautiful tomb in the Valley of the Queens. Abu Simbel is no exception, a large temple is dedicated to Ramses himself, and a small temple to his queen. In all, he had at least 4 wives, and maybe more, he ruled a record 64 years.
Let's start our story from the temples themselves. As we have already said them two, in the photo above you see the facade of the first of them, it is dedicated to the very pharaoh Ramses II. These four statues depict him, each of them is his statue. As you understand, this person did not suffer from shyness, the Egyptian pharaohs were deified during their lifetime. Approaching closer, you can estimate the size of the statues, look at the well-preserved letters on ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Unfortunately, we can not give any recommendations on how to read them. We can only say that it was in Abu Simbel that they were preserved very well, not everywhere you see inscriptions in such a good condition.
Even now, the statues make a strong impression, but imagine what was the impression of the ancient Egyptians who lived in single-story houses? After such a spectacle, doubts about divinity and the right to absolute power of pharaohs in ordinary people no longer arose.
Such were the political technologies of ancient Egypt, the more powerful the structure, the stronger the power.
Entering the temple, you will find yourself in a large hall with columns and slightly smaller statues.
Inside, many tourists are disappointed, the fact is that there is nothing there. All the items have long been plundered, and nothing remains. Inside the temple is a corridor and halls, the main notable feature here are well-preserved inscriptions on the walls and drawings.
Of the items here you can find only four statues depicting the very pharaoh and the three gods Ra-Khorakhti, Amon and Ptah, these statues are poorly preserved.
Photographing inside is officially prohibited, although when did it stop one of our tourists? But, to be honest, it's problematic to photograph inside, lighting is there, but it's very weak and the light sources are installed from the bottom, without flash anything can not work, but you do not really want to turn on the flash, you will immediately find out that you are violating the ban.
Walking along the first temple, you can move to the second.
The second temple is dedicated to the first wife of the king, the queen Nefertari, there are six statues, three on each side of the entrance. Two statues, one on each side, represent the queen, and four, two on each side, of the pharaoh himself. And in this temple of Pharaoh Ramses II much, the pharaoh could be depicted separately, but the queen was always portrayed with Pharaoh.
These statues and this temple have several features that make it unique. Note that the statues of the pharaoh and the queen are the same in size, for ancient Egypt it was, almost revolutionary, never before the queen received such honors. Before Nefertari this was not and after it, too.
By itself, the temple, which is dedicated to a woman, was already an almost unprecedented event, the only temple dedicated to the queen was built 100 years before by Pharaoh Akhenaten. He dedicated it to his queen Nefertiti, but it did not seem strange, this pharaoh generally tried to reject the whole ancient Egyptian religion and introduce a new one.
Children of the pharaoh are depicted, as expected, small, not above the knee, this is shown in the photo to the right.
In ancient sources, nothing is said about the insane love of this couple, but given these facts, these people very much appreciated each other. Thanks to this, this place can be called with certainty very romantic.
These temples, in addition to the majestic and well-preserved statues, have a very interesting history that happened to him in the 20th century. The fact is that in the 50s of the twentieth century in Egypt it was decided to build platinum on the Nile River, and the temple fell into the zone where an artificial reservoir was to be formed, it simply had to be flooded.
This temple was simply sawn to pieces and moved to a higher place. It was a unique archaeological operation, which had never been compared before, but there were no precedents after that either. It's hard to imagine how to move a whole rock to another place, but archaeologists succeeded, they saved Abu Simbel from flooding and imminent death.
Near the temples there is a museum in which you can see photos and get acquainted with the transfer technology, one of the photos from this museum you see above, more photos can be found in our photo gallery .
Read about other excursions in Egypt in our articles ( links below ).