Discover the history of a legendary temple, from its construction to today!
Over 3000 years ago, at the gates of the country of Punt (the present-day Sudan), Ramses II, a megalomaniac pharaoh and the third king of the nineteenth dynasty, built two religious structures during the height of his glory. Now the eighth wonder of the world, there is nothing like the Abu Simbel temples!
The mere mention of Abu Simbel makes explorers dream. This unique structure consists of two temples dug out of the rock and covers several hectares of land. The story of its construction is equally unique: Abu Simbel is at the heart of an incredible love story between Ramses II and his wife Nefertari. It is a story of power, gold, slaves, and ivory. The story also has mystical roots, as the two structures were oriented so that the sun god, Ra, illuminates them differently depending on the season.
A symbol of Pharaonic art at its peak, the colossal statues that adorn the facade face the horizon to welcome the first glimmers of the day. Abu Simbel transforms into a place of worship at the service of supernatural forces, encouraging the floods of the Nile. Through the creation of Abu Simbel, Ramses II expressed his power and his desire to rule Egypt for all eternity.
In 1250 BC, Ramses II, a warrior and builder, reigned supreme over Egypt. He build the Ramesseum temple, the first lighthouse in Alexandria, and launched a gigantic construction site during his fifth year in reign. At the gates of Nubia, he erected two colossal temples dedicated to the Pharaoh and to his wife Nefertari. The workers hammered 55 meters into the heart of a hill overlooking the Nile. They excavated thousands of cubic meters of stones in order to create gigantic chambers with pillars no less than 10 meters high. The statues of the Pharaoh seated on a throne are 20 meters high. The facade of this temple defied all of the norms at the time.