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Abu Simbel Temples, Egypt – An Impressive Piece of Legoland

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Abu Simbel Temples, Egypt – Larger Than Life Lego!

The Abu Simbel Temples are located near the Egypt/Sudan border, only a few hours ride in a suicidal mini-bus taxi.  They were ordered by the king of all pharoahs, Pharaoh Ramses II.

He must have been an egotistical bugger, as the sole purpose of Abu Simbel was to demonstrate his power and his divine nature to all who sailed the Nile.

This is clearly verified by the four colossal 20 metre-high statues of himself flanking the entrance, obviously outshining any silly portraits of current-day tycoons sitting in lavish mansion foyers.

Abu Simbel Pics

Abu Simbel is shown below:


However, not even Ramses II is immune from progress.  The temples were cut from their low-lying rock faces and shifted to higher ground in the 1960s, as the water of Lake Nasser rose following completion of the Aswan High Dam a project that was funded by the Soviet Union.

The transformation of Abu Simbel to higher ground was probably a greater engineering feat than the construction of the Dam itself.

The temple was cut into equal-size blocks and moved by any transport available and reassembled Lego-style.  If you go there, a grainy black and white video at the visitor’s centre will outline the rising waters almost overtopping the makeshift bund that was hastily erected.  However, the Abu Simbel Lego set was dismantled and reassembled in time, before it started resembling an ancient history water theme park.

Whilst the Aswan Dam was a fine example of Soviet Union one upmanship against the Americans, they failed submerging Abu Simbel before it was relocated, unlike later attempts regarding their submarine fleet.

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I hoped their dam engineering expertise was better than the experience employed in their Ukrainian nuclear reactors – otherwise, a catastrophic dam failure would have created an instant large wave where one could surf a battered felucca all the way to Cairo and the Mediterranean Sea.

More Abu Simbel Stuff

You can read more at The Mysteries of Abu Simbel: Ramesses II and the Temples of the Rising Sun and Abu Simbel Aswan and the Nubian Temples.

While in Egypt, you can visit the Unfinished Obelisk and go on a camel ride at the Pyramids once you have visited Abu Simbel.

For more stuff about Egypt, see:

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4 thoughts on “Abu Simbel Temples, Egypt – An Impressive Piece of Legoland”

  1. Avatar Of Ralph

    Some practical info – there are two options for visiting Abu Simbel – either overland or by flight.
    If you go overland, you have to join a police escorted convoy from Aswan. These take about 3 hours to drive to Abu Simbel, and depart at 04.00am and 11.00am each day (though sometimes in the quieter summer season only the 04.00am convoy will run). You then get about 2 hours or so at the site, and leave at around 09.30 & 16.30 respectively, getting back to Aswan by 12.30 & 19.30.
    For the flight option, there are 2 airlines you can fly with – Memphis Airways and Egypt Air. Memphis only have one plane, and their departure time varies each day from around 03.30am and 08.00am, and the exact time will only be confirmed the day before. Egypt Air’s schedule is much more fixed, and they have a few flights from Aswan, including one that connects through to Cairo. Egypt Air are also considerably more expensive. Both flight options will cost at least twice as much as travelling overland, which is about GBP 40-60 p/p, depending on whether you have a guide & entrance fees included.
    Entrance fees to Abu Simbel are 90 Egyptian Pounds (approx. GBP 10), and while you can get a guide at the site itself, I’d recommend taking your own with you from Aswan, as you don’t get nearly as much time with the local guides as they try and cover as many different tourists as possible each day.

    Abu Simbel is an amazing site, and regularly picked out by our travellers as one of the main highlights of their visit to Egypt.
    Ralph, Egypt Uncovered
    (prices & times correct as of May 2009)

    Ralph’s last blog post..Egypt Experience, 910.00 GBP

  2. Avatar Of Carlos@Egypt Holidays From Dealchecker
    Carlos@Egypt Holidays from Dealchecker

    Great blog post, came accross this when I was looking for information about Egypt, going to Egypt myself next month for research (need to write content related to Egypt) and im really looking forward to it.

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