Perhaps after the Giza pyramids, or coincident with
them, the great temple of Abu Simbel presents the most familiar
image of ancient Egypt to modern traveler an reader. When the
conservation efforts to preserve the temple from the soon – to be
built high Aswan dam and its rising waters were begun in the 1960,
images of colossal statues filled news papers and books.
The temple were dismantled and relocated in 1968 on the desert
plateau, 200 feet above 600 feet west of their original location.
Abu Simble lies south of Aswan on the western bank of the Nile, 180
miles south of the first Cataract in what was Nubia. The site was
known as Meha in ancient times and was first documented in the 18
dynasty, when Ay and Hormohib had rock-cut chapels hewn in the hills
to the south.
Ramsses п called (the great) built 7 rock-cut temples in Nuba, the
rock-cut temple of Ramsses п on the west bank of the Nile at Abu
Simbel the greatest of these.
This temple was not seen by European until JJ. Burckhardt discovered
them in 1813. the temple called Hwt Ramsses Meryamoun the temple of
Ramsses, beloved of Amoun was begun fairly early in Ramsses long
reign, commissioned some time after is fifth regnal year, but not
completed until his 35th regnal year.
The massive façade of the main temple is dominated by the four
seated colossal status of Ramsses, these familiar representations
are of Ramsses second himself.
Each statue 67 feet high is seated on a throne and wears a double
crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. And all are sculpted directly from
the rock face; the thrones are decorated on their sides with
Nile-gods symbolically uniting Egypt.
Burckardt said of the first face on the left that ( it was the most
expressive, youthful, countenance, approaching, nearer to the
Grecien model of beauty than that of any Egyptian figure I have seen
Between the legs and on each of their sides stand smaller status of
members of the royal family, the smaller status of the relatives
were probably, for the first colossus queen Nefertary, by the left
leg the king’s mother, the great wife of Seti, Muttuya by his right
leg and prince Amenharknopshef in front, for the second southern
colossus princess Bent Anta stood by the left leg princess Nebttawy
by the left and one unnamed female figure probably that of royal
wife named Esenofro.