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Abu Simbel Trips
After the Pyramids and the Sphinx, Abu Simbel, adorned with four enormous colossi of Ramses II, is the defining image of Egypt. Just 40 km north of the Sudanese border, the temple was erected as testimony to the Pharaoh’s might. It was intended that his magnificent and unblinking stare would be the first thing that travellers, visitors and enemies alike, saw as they entered Egypt from the south. Three millennia later, the monument’s sheer size still inspires awe.
Upon seeing the mighty statues, it’s hard to believe that they were buried for centuries by desert sands until 1813 when Johann Burckhardt finally happened upon them. Behind the statues is Ramses II’s Temple of the Sun, which was originally built to venerate Amun and Re-Harakhte but really is dominated by, and dedicated to, the pharaoh-god Ramses II himself. He also built a temple, though much smaller, for his queen, Nefertari, which is both imposing and very beautiful.Read more
The laid-back village of Abu Simbel itself sits on the brim of Lake Nasser, the largest man-made lake in the world. With the exception of the temples, hotels and the homes of tourist industry employees, there is almost nothing else here. That is part of its charm, as is the immediate warmth of the locals. It is an attractive sultry little place, utterly sleepy except when the tours are passing through, where swathes of turban are de rigueur for men and you see women wearing traditional Nubian black net dresses decorated with weaving.