Abu Simbel's Colossal Temple
The great temples of Abu Simbel in Southern Egypt have captivated generations of travellers. When Florence Nightingale visited in 1850, she wrote that the temples "make the impression on one that a thousand voices do...the temple of Ipsamboul [Abu Simbel] is the only thing that has ever made an impression upon me like that of St. Peter’s, yet how different".
Built by the Pharaoh Ramses II 30 centuries ago to impress his Nubian subjects with Egyptian power, the façade of the main rock-cut temple is dominated by four colossal statues of the king, each 20 metres high, with Nubians, his mother, and several of his children at his feet! The site is remarkably well preserved, having been largely covered by sand for many centuries. It was rediscovered for the West by the Swiss Explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1813. Then, in the 1960s, the temple was rescued from the rising waters of Lake Nasser and moved to its present position, 65 meters higher than the original site. Abu Simbel is undeniably one of the greatest monuments in Egypt.