For anybody visiting Egypt on a Nile Cruise this is the one excursion not to be missed.
Excursions can be either by air or road on air conditioned coaches. Until you round the rock you will have no idea of the enormity of the site you are about to visit.
Abu Simbel is a set of two temples constructed for the pharaoh Ramesses 11 who reigned for 67 years during the 13th century BC. The Great Temple is dedicated to Ramesses 11. The temple’s façade is dominated by four enormous seated statues of the Pharaoh (each over 20 meters high), unfortunately, one of them has been damaged since ancient times. Within the rock-cut temple, the innermost part – the sanctuary there is a statue of Ramasses 11 seated with three other gods.
The Small Temple is dedicated to Nefertari, the favourite wife of Ramesses. There are six rock cut statues, three either side of the doorway to the temple. These statues are 10 meters high. There are two of Ramesses and one of Nefertari either side of the doorway.
This is the new site of the Abu Simbel. When the temples were threatened by submersion in Lake Nasser, due to the construction of the High Dam,the Egyptian Government, with the support of UNESCO launched a world wide appeal. The two temples were dismantled and raised over 60 meters up the sandstone cliff when they had been built more than 3,000 years before. They were reassembled in the exact same relationship to each other and the sun.
There is an alternative form of transport that will take you to this magnificent spot. This would be by boat whilst on a Lake Nasser cruise. There are a few of these to choose from, the most popular being MS Eugenie, Kasr Ibrim and MS Nubian Sea. These cruises tend to be three or 4 nights long sailing from either Aswan or Abu Simbel. This cruise forms part of a multi centre holiday. It can be tied in with Cairo, Luxor or even a Nile cruise.