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History Of Abu Simble

Temples Construction

The construction of the complex of temples of Abu Simble began in the year 1244 BC and it took the builders around 20 years to complete the two temples which were considered to be an ancient Egyptian architectural treasure.

The Temples of Abu Simble, according to the historical records, was among six other large rock cut temples constructed in Nubia during the ruling period of Ramses II in order to show the people of Nubia how a powerful king also to honor himself as the beloved of Amun, the king of gods, during the reign of the New Kingdom.

The Excavation of the Temple of Abu Simble 

With centuries passing by the sand of Nubia has covered almost all the Pharaonic temples situated in Upper Egypt including the marvelous temples of Abu Simble. It wasn’t until the year 1813 when a Swiss orientalist was able to locate the temple once again.

However, the temples were actually unearthed in 1817 by the Italian discoverer, Giovanni Battista Belzoni, who succeeded after some time to enter inside the temple.

Some legends, spread mainly by Egyptian tour guides during their trips to the temple, claiming that the temples were named after a young boy who led the archaeologists to discover the temple.

Some other historical records assert that the complex of temples was named after the village of Abu Simble; located near the original position of the temple before being relocated.

The Relocation of the Temples of Abu Simble  

When the High Dam was constructed in Aswan, the temples of Abu Simble, together with many other Pharaonic temples of Nubia, faced the threat of drowning under the water of Nasser Lake, which was formed to the South of the High Dam.

The idea of relocating the temples of Nubia emerged in 1955. Afterward, in 1960, the UNESCO has called all the nations of the world to participate in the project of the Rescue of Nubian Monuments and Sites.

The project began in 1963, with the contribution of many more than 50 countries from around the world, like the United States, Netherlands, Great Britain, and Spain. This is beside the Egyptian government and the UNESCO.

The larger temple of Ramses II was divided into around 830 pieces and the smaller temple of the Queen Nefertari was divided into 235 pieces; with each piece being 20 tons in weight in one of the most brilliant architectural achievements of the 20th century.

The pieces of the two temples were transferred to the current location of Abu Simble in 1965. The new location is more than 150 meters above sea level to ensure the temples would never be threatened again with the level of the water in the River Nile or the Nasser Lake.

The engineers of the UNESCO were able to construct an artificial mountain to be situated behind the temples to create the realistic attribute and atmosphere of rock-cut temples. The mountain was built through erected a huge dome with a diameter of 60 to 65 meters and it was 38 meters high.

The work of the reconstruction of the Abu Simble temples took four years to be completed in 1968 in an international project which had a budget of around 36 million US dollars to rescue this marvelous masterpiece of ancient Egyptian architecture and art.