Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel


Sandstone figures of Ramses II in front of the main temple at Abu Simbel near Aswan, Egypt.—© Spectrum Colour Library/Heritage-Images

Site of two temples built by Ramses II in the 13th century BC. The area, at the southern frontier of pharaonic Egypt, lies near the present-day border between Egypt and The Sudan. The temples were unknown to the outside world until their rediscovery in 1813. The larger temple displays four 66-ft (20-m) seated figures of Ramses; the smaller was dedicated to Queen Nefertari. When the reservoir created by the building of Aswan High Dam threatened to submerge the site in the early 1960s, an international team disassembled both temples and reconstructed them 200 ft (60 m) above their previous site.

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