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Great Temple Of Ramesses II by Tasky Great Temple Of Ramesses II by Tasky
The Great Temple at Abu Simbel, which took about twenty years to build, was completed around year 24 of the reign of Rameses the Great (which corresponds to 1265 BCE). It was dedicated to the gods Amun, Ra-Horakhty, and Ptah, as well as to the deified Rameses himself. It is generally considered the grandest and most beautiful of the temples commissioned during the reign of Rameses II, and one of the most beautiful in Egypt.

Four colossal 20 meter statues of the pharaoh with the double Atef crown of Upper and Lower Egypt decorate the facade of the temple, which is 35 meters wide and is topped by a frieze with 22 baboons, worshippers of the sun and flank the entrance. The colossal statues were sculptured directly from the rock in which the temple was located before it was moved. All statues represent Ramesses II, seated on a throne and wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. The statue to the left of the entrance was damaged in an earthquake, leaving only the lower part of the statue still intact. The head and torso can still be seen at the statue's feet.

Next to the legs of the colossi, there are other statues no higher than the knees of the pharaoh. These depict Nefertari, Ramesses's chief wife, and queen mother Mut-Tuy, his first two sons Amun-her-khepeshef, Ramesses, and his first six daughters Bintanath, Baketmut, Nefertari, Meritamen, Nebettawy and Isetnofret.

The entrance itself is crowned by a bas-relief representing two images of the king worshiping the falcon-headed Ra Harakhti, whose statue stands in a large niche. This god is holding the hieroglyph user in his right hand and a feather while Ma'at, (the goddess of truth and justice) in on his left; this is nothing less than a gigantic cryptogram for Ramesses II's throne name, User-Maat-Re. The facade is topped by a row of 22 baboons, their arms raised in the air, supposedly worshipping the rising sun. Another notable feature of the facade is a stele which records the marriage of Ramesses with a daughter of king Hattusili III, which sealed the peace between Egypt and the Hittites.

The collapsed colossus of the Great Temple supposedly fell during an earthquake shortly after its construction, when moving the temple it was decided to leave it as the face is missing.
One of the eight pillars in the main hall of the temple, showing Ramesses II as OsirisThe inner part of the temple has the same triangular layout that most ancient Egyptian temples follow, with rooms decreasing in size from the entrance to the sanctuary. The temple is complex in structure and quite unusual because of its many side chambers. The hypostyle hall (sometimes also called pronaos) is 18 meters long and 16,7 meters wide and is supported by eight huge Osirid pillars depicting the deified Ramses linked to the god Osiris, the god of the Underworld, to indicate the everlasting nature of the pharaoh. The colossal statues along the left-hand wall bear the white crown of Upper Egypt, while those on the opposite side are wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt(pschent). The bas-reliefs on the walls of the pronaos depict battle scenes in the military campaigns the ruler waged. Much of the sculpture is given to the Battle of Kadesh, on the Orontes river in present-day Syria, in which the Egyptian king fought against the Hittites. The most famous relief shows the king on his chariot shooting arrows against his fleeing enemies, who are being taken prisoner. Other scenes show Egyptian victories in Libya and Nubia.

From the hypostyle hall, one enters the second pillared hall, which has four pillars decorated with beautiful scenes of offerings to the gods. There are depictions of Ramesses and Nefertari with the sacred boats of Amun and Ra-Harakhti. This hall gives access to a transverse vestibule in the middle of which is the entrance to the sanctuary. Here, on a black wall, are rock cut sculptures of four seated figures: Ra-Horakhty, the deified king Ramesses, and the gods Amun Ra and Ptah. Ra-Horakhty, Amun Ra and Ptah were the main divinities in that period and their cult centers were at Heliopolis, Thebes and Memphis respectively.

The axis of the temple was positioned by the ancient Egyptian architects in such a way that twice a year, on October 22 and February 22, the rays of the sun would penetrate the sanctuary and illuminate the sculpture on the back wall, except for the statue of Ptah, the god connected with the Underworld, who always remained in the dark. These dates are allegedly the king's birthday and coronation day respectively, but there is no evidence to support this, though it is quite logical to assume that these dates had some relation to a great event, such as the jubilee celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the pharaoh's rule. In fact, according to calculations made on the basis of the heliacal rising of the star Sirius (Sothis) and inscriptions found by archaeologists, this date must have been October 22. This image of the king was enhanced and revitalized by the energy of the solar star, and the deified Ramesses Great could take his place next to Amun Ra and Ra-Horakhty.

Due to the displacement of the temple, it is widely believed that this event now occurs one day later than it did originally.

Abu Simbel temples, Nubia, southern Egypt, Africa.
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StonedSmeagol Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2011
Cool photo.
Tasky Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2011  Professional Photographer
:) Thanks Ralph.
StonedSmeagol Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2011
My pleasure my friend!
lauricedeephd Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2010
What an incredible view of the front part of the temple! And so full of history! I bet Cairo was definitely an experience for you!

Tasky Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2010  Professional Photographer
:) Yes Cairo was quite the experience indeed.
But Nubia was a whole other story in it's self.. ;)

You see Laurice,
I had to ride an over night train from Cairo to Aswan, "14 hours" then a 45 min flight to Nubia.
All just to see The Great Temple's at Abu Simbel... :phew:
Pentamen Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2010
YAY!!!! I love these photos! Care to see mine?
-Lord Pent
Tasky Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2010  Professional Photographer
:) Thanks.
Pentamen Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2010
Hey there, how are you doing?
To look at mine, would you look at my page, then to my gallery? *I did so to find yours! I am Lord Pent, nice to meet you!
-Lord Pent
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Submitted on
July 11, 2010
Image Size
3.7 MB


20 (who?)

Camera Data

Shutter Speed
10/10000 second
Focal Length
7 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jun 10, 2010, 2:33:55 AM


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