Day 24: Abu SimbelMarch 29, 2011 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C
Abu Simbel is one of the most famous of the ancient Egyptian temples, situated near the Sudanese border 260km south of Aswan. Getting there required a 3 hour drive, leaving Aswan at 4:30am. We drove in a convoy of 20-odd tourist buses, and a small military escort. We jokingly hoped the military cars were to ward off the souvenir sellers!
Arrived in Abu Simbel on time around 7:30am and it's one of the most awe-inspiring places I've ever seen. The temple is built into the face of a cliff, guarded by 30 metre high statues of Pharoah Ramesses II portraying himself as a god. The facade is just incredible, and the inside is also very impressive for its size and richly detailed carvings.
His temple to one of his wives, Nefertari, stands nearby as well. Also very impressive but not in the same league as the main temple. Incredibly, both temples were painstakingly moved in the 1970s, as the downstream construction of the Aswan High Dam would have submerged them both. How the place isn't a wonder of the world is beyond me!
After a couple of hours worth of open-mouthed wandering, we boarded the bus for the long trip back to Aswan. On the way back we stopped at Philae temple on an island in the Nile, which was very pretty but my hieroglyph quota was fast filling up for the day.
Spent another lazy afternoon wandering and relaxing before another trip to the marketplace where I bought a hat and some souvenirs. Dinner at the same restaurant before a brief tea and shisha session with Jess, one of the Canadian girls. Stocked up on pastries and biscuits as we were boarding our boat for the journey northwards in the morning.Read more