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GOOD NEWS: Abu Simbel In Egypt

Abu Simbel is an archaeological site comprising two massive rock temples in southern Egypt on the western bank of Lake Nasser southwest of Aswan.

The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh (pronounced Fair Row) Ramesses (pronounced Ram Ess Sees) II in the 13th century BC (yes, that was thirteen hundred years before Christ was born), as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh, and to intimidate his Nubian neighbors.

However, the complex was relocated in its entirety in the 1960s, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan dam reservoir.

This relocation was made necessary to avoid the ruins being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser.

This massive artificial water reservoir was formed after the building of the Aswan dam on the Nile River.

The area is pretty well cut off from the rest of Egypt and most people fly Egyptair from Luxor to the North.

In the overview at the top of the page you can see both temples, the one to the left usually called the Great Temple and the one to the right the Small Temple. The Great Temple is the fictional field headquarters of MI6 in the 1977 James Bond film 'The Spy Who Loved Me', containing M's office and conference room, and Q's laboratory.

As pictured below, the excitement builds as the tourists round the bend from the airfield and spot the temples. The blazing heat is almost forgotten.

The four immense statues are of Pharaoh Ramesses II. The crumbled statue to the left of the entrance probably was damaged in an earthquake shortly after it was erected in 13th century BC, leaving only the lower part of the statue still intact. The head and torso can still be seen at the statue's feet. Because this was way it was when first rediscovered in 1813 and because the face was missing, it was decided to do the new erection as you see it here.

The tourists gather in the searing sun to hear the tour guides at the site relate the 'legend' that "Abu Simbel" was a young local boy who guided these early re-discoverers to the site of the buried temple which he had seen from time to time in the shifting sands. Eventually, they named the complex after him.

There was almost no interior lighting at the time of our photographer's visit. But it was cooler in the dim granite walled shadows.

This 35mm shot of the interior was solid black for many years until the miracle of digital enhancement drew this scene from the darkness where you can see six of the eight interior pillars of Ramesses II in the main hall.

Two young teen boys play 'The Mummies Curse' or something equally scary. And leaning against that granite is cooling.

The Small Temple was dedicated to Ramesses II queen, Nefertari.

While our photographer was there he noticed a comely young European woman in shorts and halter top. She was complaining about the furious heat of the fierce Egyptian sun on her substantially bare shoulders and legs and when she noticed a spigot in the middle of the green grass, she knelt, turned on the water, cupped her hands and drank thirstily.

When a kindly stranger suggested that was not a good idea in any foreign country, she realized perhaps she had made an error. She was intensely ill by the time she disembarked from the returning Egyptair flight to Luxor.

A scene at Lake Nasser, where a fisherman mends his nets.

A group of young pre teen and teen visitors went wading in the lake to cool off. Did we mention it was scorchingly hot here? After a while, a guide wandered over and informed them that there were crocodiles in the lake. Yelps, screams, splashes and they were out in the intense heat again with a great story to tell forever.

At the admissions table, an ankh decorated key sparkles in the raging sun.

Here a tween girl poses with the ankh key and Pharaoh Ramesses II.

Here a guard/guide indulges in the Egyptian national drug. And what a setting for a smoke. The white robe though is extremely sensible in this climate.

And more sitting and who can blame them.

A very small statue of the queen (Nefertari) between two enormous statues of her husband, Pharaoh Ramesses II. Gives one a clue as to the importance of a queen in pharaohland. Plus even Pharaoh and Nefertari had no medical care, dental care or air conditioning.

A last far off view from near Lake Nasser of the Great Temple and the basically fake 'mountain'.

Heat aside though, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most impressive monuments in the world and one of Egypt's top tourist attractions for the very good reasons that it is unique, antique, spectacular and a largely intact archaeological find of a great ancient civilization .

Many thanks to Wikipedia

All photographs are from TheCOOLpix Archive.


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