Location: Southern Egypt on the western bank of Lake Nasser about 230 km southwest of Aswan.
Built: Construction of the temple complex started in approximately 1284 BC and lasted for about 20 years.
Built by: Ramesses II.
History: The Temples of Abu Simbel are amongst the most interesting Pharaonic Temples. Consists of two, rock-cut Temples, which both date back to the reign of King Ramses II (1290-1223 BC). This is the Great Temple of Abu Simbel. The temple was cut into rock in the 13th century B.C. by the famous pharaoh Ramses II in honour of himself and the triad Amon-Ra, Ptah and Ra-Harakhte. Together with a smaller temple dedicated to Ramses' wife Nefertari and the goddess Hathor, it lay strategically in a bend of the river Nile overlooking the plains to the south as an impressive monument of Egypt's might. As such it must have served to impress people coming from the south, possibly to scare anyone thinking of invading the land of Egypt. The temple's strategical position proved unfortunate for its placement right at the bank of the Nile, because the building of a new dam in the Nile in the 1960s caused the water to rise to its feet, and threatened to eventually drown the great monument. During a great international rescue campaign headed by UNESCO between 1963 and 1967 the temple was moved to a higher and safe location.The front of the temple is dominated by four gigantic statues of the great pharaoh himself. The colossi of the king, wearing the characteristic nemes headcloth and double crown (of upper and lower Egypt), are each 20 metres high, while the facade is more than 35 metres wide and 30 metres high. The king is accompanied by some of his wives, sons and daughters who appear in much smaller size beside his legs. Right above the entrance stands a figure of the god Re-Harakhte in a small niche. The top of the facade is crowned by a row of baboons. One of Egypt's most impressive sites, Abu Simbel is unforgettable. Its two temples were built in the 13th century BC by Ramses II, one dedicated to himself and the gods Horus, Amun and Ptah, and another dedicated to his wife Nefertari and the goddess Hathor. Ramesses built the temple too close to the Nile and the flood waters took their toll. The central entrance leads into a large hall with massive pillars fronted by Osiris figures of the king. The temple's orientation is arranged in such a way that twice every year on 22 February and 22 October the earliest sun-rays shine on the back wall of the innermost chamber, thus illuminating the statues of the four gods seated there.