Some 320 km outside of Aswan in Nubia lies what can only be described as the truly remarkable Temple of Abu Simbel. It was carved directly out of the sandstone cliffs along the Nile and built by Ramses II. Built under the pretense of dedication to the gods Amon Ra, Harmakis, and Ptah… many would say it was built for Ramses’ own glorification. On the face of the temple are four huge statues of King Ramses II seated on his throne. Each individual statue is 20 meters high, four meters from ear-to-ear, and one meter across the mouth. Statues of Amon Ra, Harmakis, and Ptah once stood at the heart of the mountain from which this temple was carved.


Twice a year the sun would penetrate the entrance of the temple, into the mountain, and shine on Amon Ra and a statue of Ramses II. About 20 minutes later it would then move to shine on Harmakis but, interestingly enough, would fail to ever shine on Ptah, the God of Darkness. In the temple's yard, there is a group of monuments, the most important of which is the famous marital monument on which is registered the story of the marriage of the Pharaoh and the daughter of the Hethean King; after signing the first peace treaty in the world between Egypt and Khita.

In the hall of columns, there are eight huge pillars on which is sculpted the statue of Ramses taking the figure Osiris, the God of the Dead. This hall is also known for its northern wall on which is represented the Battle of Kadesh. The southern wall depicts a dazzling scene of the King and his sons attacking the Syrian citadel, and at the bottom we see a shepherd trying to escape the victorious King. Just beside this scene, the King is pictured again holding an enemy in one hand and stabbing him with the other. This scene is somewhat remarkable as the enemy appears to be of the same size as the King while in other scenes enemies were always humiliated by being smaller than the King. The Temple of Abu Simbel contains many other scenes of no less importance than the ones already described – indeed it is worthy of at least one full day’s exploration. Truly this is a temple not to be missed.