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Abu Simbel

Village of Nubia egypt

A forty-minute flight south of Aswan and only a two-hour drive from the border of Sudan, Abu Simbel is the site of one the greatest examples of ancient Egyptian art. The main temple is framed by four colossal statues of Ramses the Second, one of the greatest rulers in history. He reigned for 67 years (1279-1213 AD) from the age of 32 to 99. In his lifetime, he had dozens of wives and hundreds of children, and the nearby temple was built to honor his favorite wife, Nefetari. The giant, 66-foot statues outside of the main temple represent Ramses at different stages of his life.

The temples first came to the attention of the West in 1813 when they were discovered by Johann Burckhardt. In the 1960s, when the Aswan High Dam was built, the rising waters of Lake Nasser threatened the temple, so a massive UNESCO relocation feat was accomplished. The entire complex was cut into 16,000 blocks and moved piece by piece to higher ground. (As a thank you for its assistance in funding the project, the U.S. was given the Temple of Dendur, which is now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.) Contact Indagare to arrange a tour.

Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley

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