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Abu Simbel Temples of Ramssese II and Nefertari in Egypt

Updated on January 5, 2017
Abu Simbel temples
Abu Simbel temples | Source


These massive rock temples are legendary resources for those who want to study about the history of Egypt. The temples host some wonderful sculptures of important events held in the Pharaoh Kingdom during the reign of King Ramssese II. Perched on the top of a mountainside in Nubia, Abu Simbel temples were built by King Ramssese II for himself and for his beloved wife as monuments. These twin temples have the names, Great temple and Small temple where you can spot carved sculptures of Gods, King and the Queen. It is evident that the Queen shared equal status with the King as their statues stand equal in size.

King Ramssese and queen Nefertari
King Ramssese and queen Nefertari | Source

Construction of the temple complex lasted for about 20 years widely known as the "Temple of Ramesses, beloved by Amun". It was one of six rock temples erected in Nubia during the long reign of Ramesses II. The temples were built to impress Egypt's southern neighbors and also to establish Egyptian religion in the region. Historians say that the design of Abu Simbel reveals a sign of ego and pride that Ramesses II possessed. The Great temple’s façade has twenty colossal statues of the Pharaoh kingdom with the crowns of Lower and Upper Egypt.

Colossal statues of Great temple
Colossal statues of Great temple | Source

The Small temple is dedicated to Hathor, ancient Egyptian Goddess and Nefertari, the chief consort of King Ramssese II. The temple characterizes the deep love of the King and the Queen in stone letters and poems. Nefertari’s statues depict her consciousness in dressing well for a fair appearance. She was the beloved wife of King Ramssese II among other wives because of her good behavior and qualities. Nefertari was involved in foreign affairs of Egypt in taking important decisions. The people of the state also adored her and honored with the titles Great of Praises, Sweet of Love and Lady of Grace.

Temple of Queen Nefertari near to Abu Simbel temples
Temple of Queen Nefertari near to Abu Simbel temples | Source
Crowning of Nefertari
Crowning of Nefertari | Source

Each temple has its own priest for representing the King in daily religious ceremonies. Pharaohs had a faith that the King should be the only celebrant in daily religious ceremonies performed in different temples all over Egypt. Actually, the high priest also had that role. An extensive education in art and science only could make a priest reach that position like the Pharaoh King had. Reading, writing, engineering, arithmetic, geometry, space measurement, astronomy, time calculations all were the stipulated subjects of this learning.

Abu Simbel temples have the prestige of having same sized statues of the king and his consort in Egyptian art. Traditionally, the statues of the queens had height till the knee of the statues of Pharaohs. During the 24th year of his reign, Ramssese and his wife Nefertari visited Abu Simbel.

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Abu Simbel temples of Egypt

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Abu Simbel Temples, Aswan Governorate, Egypt
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© 2015 Radhika Sreekanth

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    • radhikasree profile imageAUTHOR

      Radhika Sreekanth 

      3 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Hi Ruby,

      I love to see and read about historic monuments as they all tell interesting stories. Stone works survive if they're properly maintained by the concerned authorities.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Very interesting history of Egypt. Amazing how the stones have survived all these years. Thank you for sharing..

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