Abu Simbel Temples, Egypt

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Among all the souvenirs I have from our trip in Egypt, I think the view of the Abu Simbel temples is probably the strongest one.  The location near the Sudanese border meant we had to take a short flight from Aswan. I remember the person booking the trip taking extra care to enable us to be on a later flight and therefore stay a little longer at the temples.  And then, the local agent, changing back this flight in order to bring everyone at the same time and save himself a little time.  He didn’t know what to say when I complained about this, but it was then too late, our time at the temples had been shorten. Well,  .  .  .

The story of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is pretty amazing — the complete complex was relocated in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir.  This was to avoid its submersion during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Dam on the Nile River.

These twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh.  This is a massive temple to look at, but to think about the undertaking of the relocation is again something special.  I am still amazed at these Egyptian temples, among the oldest ones I had the chance to see during all my travels.


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