Aswan

Abu Simbel –The Twin Temple of Ramesses II

There are some things in life that are hard to believe to be from this world or even exist in our realms like the legendary Abu Simbel temples; which stand as a holy guardian and a living proof of the marvelous glory and pride of the ancient Egyptians. Abu Simbel temples are located in the Nubian village in southern Egypt; about 230 km southwest of Aswan near the borders of Sudan. They carved out of the mountainside in the 13th century B.C during the reign of the Pharaoh Ramesses II; taking 20 full years from1264 BC till 1244 BC. They created to celebrate Ramesses’ victory at the Battle of Kadesh and as a show of Egyptian power.

 

This site is the most famous in all of Egypt after the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Today they are a UNESCO World Heritage site; along with a number of other UNESCO sites in Nubia from Abu Simbel Temples to Philae Temple near Aswan. The Swiss explorer John Lewis Burckhardt, who led to the site by an Egyptian Nubian boy called Abu Simbel, rediscovered the temple after it buried under the sand for a long time in 1813. Four years later in 1817, Giovanni Battista Belzoni managed to remove some of the sand and find the entrance into the temple. The sand was entirely removed from the temple in 1909 to become one of Egypt’s most incredible attractions.

Who is Ramses II?

Ramses II was the son of Seti I and Queen Tuya. He was born around 1303 BC in Ancient Egypt. Ramses II was also the great ruler of Egypt from 1279 until 1213 B.C. He called also Ramses the great as he was the most powerful pharaoh in the Egypt New Kingdom. Ramses II has built a lot of mesmerizing constructions all through Egypt and Nubia. His most mesmerizing temples are the Ramesseum in Karnak temple and the temples of Abu Simbel. He even established a capital city in Delta called Pi-Ramses.  He died at the age of ninety-six. And through his lifetime, he had over 200 wives, ninety-three sons, and sixty daughters, most of whom he outlived. There is no ancient site in Egypt, which does not make mention of Ramses the Great because of his great accomplishments.

The Great Temple of Ramses II

 

The great Temple was built by King Ramses II. It is dedicated to the Gods Re-Hor-Akhty, Amon, Ptah, and King Ramses II as a deified King. The temple facade is 35m long and 30m high, with four 20m tall seated colossi of the King seated on his throne wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, accompanied by 3 small figures of his wives, daughters, and sons around his legs.

Inside the temple, there are three consecutive halls reaching up to 56m till the end of the temple. The hypostyle hall is 16.7 m wide, 18 m tall, and supported by eight massive Osiris pillars which cut into the rock, with walls decorated by battle and offering scenes. There are some side rooms leading from the hall, which also decorated with various scenes. At the far end of the Temple is the sanctuary, which contains four statues: Re-Hor-Akhty, Amon-Re, Ptah, and the deified Ramses II.

The Small Temple of Queen Nefertari

King Ramses II built the Small Temple at Abu Simbel as a monument to his beautiful and much-loved queen Nefertari. It dedicated also to the goddess Hathor. It is located just north of the main temple and it is smaller in size. This was only the second time in history that an ancient Egyptian temple built in honor of a queen; the first was when Akhenaten dedicated a temple to his great royal wife, Nefertiti.

On the front of the temple, there are six colossal statues about 10 meters high. Four of them represent Ramses II and the other two represent Queen Nefertari, each is accompanied by two smaller figures of their children. The entrance leads to a square hall, which supported by six Hathor-headed pillars decorated with depictions of the King and the Queen making offerings to different deities.

The Relocation of Abu Simbel Temples

Not only are the two temples at Abu Simbel among the most magnificent monuments in the world but their removal and reconstruction was a historic event in itself. When the temples were threatened by submersion in Lake Nasser, due to the construction of the High Dam, the Egyptian Government secured the support of UNESCO and launched a worldwide appeal.

During the operation which began in 1964 by the most skilled archeologists and engineers and continued until 1968, the two temples cut into many pieces and taken to a site 65M higher from their original location. Also, they took great care to make sure that they reassembled in the same original orientation to each other and to the sun. Even a man-made mountain constructed, to make it look like they cut into the rock cliff. At the time, the project cost a total of $40 million – which is a considerable amount in the 1960s.

Abu Simbel Sun Festival

When the Great Temple was constructed, it was built precisely with the position of the sun in mind. The sun festival happens when the sun rays illuminate the central chamber with its hunting architecture. And the light perfectly cast on the four seated statues of Ramses II, Ptah “God of Creation“, Amun “The God of Gods”, and Ra “Sun God“. This solar phenomenon created to celebrate February 22nd, the anniversary of Ramses II’s ascension on the throne; and October 22nd, his birthday. Hundreds of people from all over the world gather at the temple before dawn to witness the spectacle of the rays of light filtering through the stones of the temple and illuminate the statues of Ramses and the gods. It is an extraordinary demonstration of the skill and deep knowledge of the ancient Egyptians in the astronomical field.

 

Abu Simbel temple is one of the most historical attractions around the world where many tourists dream of exploring, so if you want to visit this magnificent monument and the other archaeological sites, then you can visit our breathtaking Aswan tours or Nile cruises and choose your most suitable journey.

Things You Must Know About Nubian Villages

In the depths of the south in Egypt on the west bank of the Nile, near the city of Aswan. There are Nubian villages, that have amazing unparalleled beauty, and natural environment.

Nubian villages, Characterized by natural geographical borders and historical ones, each of which is a tourist attraction in itself.

Nubians have inhabited these villages, which are famous for their customs, traditions, beliefs, history. and even their way of life and the places in which they live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the corridors of the villages, you will only hear the Nubian language, as Nubians have their own unique language which they do not teach to any stranger.

Discover the vibrant culture of Nubia, one of the oldest African civilizations. You must visit a Nubian village when traveling to Egypt.

Among all the attractions in Aswan, this may be the only trip that will attract your heart in every sense.

Nubians

The origins of Nubians go back to Africa and Sudan when they traveled in ancient times to southern Egypt for cultivation around the Nile.

They were famous for their skills in horse riding and archery with bows and arrows.

The Nubian people are very friendly and charming, and wonderful hospitality will await you in one of the Nubian family homes Nubian culture. The Nubian culture is still alive today.

 

 

 

 

 

Nubians are proud of their heritage, they love to show their crafts and sell traditional food, They are still making Nubian jewelry for wearing or selling to tourists.

Nubian women preserve their culture, continue to tell their children about ancient Nubian tales and stories, and teach them traditional Nubian dances and songs.

Nubians are still influenced by ancient Egyptian beliefs. They thought the crocodile body hanging above the door of the house could protect them from the evil eye, so you might find mummified bodies all over the gates of the village.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elephantine Island

This amazing island is part of the beautiful city of Aswan, it is considered an important tourist attraction. Located just below the first estuary. There were two temples of the great Pharaohs Tuthmosis the Third and Amenhotep the Third.

Unfortunately, Muhammad Ali destroyed them in his attempt to invade Sudan. At the southern end of this island is the Nubian Museum.

Also, the Nubian villages of Siou and Koti are on the island. They are famous for palm groves There you will have an amazing experience of modern life.

And spend an imaginative time drinking tea with them and buying their handmade products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Crocodiles

Ancient Egyptians used to worship crocodiles, it was a prophylactic deity against dangers with repellent characteristics of evil.

For this reason, the Nubians embalmed crocodiles to prevent evil things and adopted them as tradition. There are some places that have crocodiles, you can see them while you are there, do not forget to take some pictures with the crocodiles.

 

 

 

 

 

Also, you find people who are draw henna on the body which will be an unconventional experience for you.

you’ll also find some great places to buy souvenirs, cafes and excellent restaurants.

 

 

 

 

 

Nubian Kitchen

Colorful villages are not the only thing Nubians are known for. Nubian kitchen is common in all parts of the country.

Also, Nubians have been able to develop their kitchen from the things available in the local environment, The most famous foods are aljakud, alkabed bread and elkrmadid.

So do not miss this trip to discover the magical and wonderful world of Nubia.

See Nubian Trips:

Nubian Village Tours in Aswan

Kalabsha and Nubian Museum Tours in Aswan

 

 

 

 

Aswan tourism! Beauty waiting to be explored!

This is the complete guide about Aswan tourism explains a lot about the wonderful Aswan and it’s monuments.

Aswan’s location is below the northern-most cataract on the Nile,  marked the traditional southern frontier of Egypt with rival Nubia.

During ancient times, the Nubians people competed with the Egyptian kings for influence and territory as their power waned and ebbed.

But, Aswan remained the natural boundary between them.

Aswan was not only a political border, but also a natural economic intersection.

The city thrived as a trading center and passage between Egypt and the rest of Africa.

colour powder and spices, street scene at night, market in Aswan, Egypt, Africa

 

Aswan Location

In this complete guide about Aswan tourism, we will guide you through the amazing destinations in Aswan to help you have the best experience during your trip.

Aswan location is in Egypt’s southern-most, like Cairo, and Luxor, on the shores of the Nile River, at its first cataract.

Its north side lies about 750 miles of the Nile until it reaches the Nile Delta then the Mediterranean Sea.

What distinguishes this beautiful city apart from other touristic destinations in Egypt is that the buildings in Aswan only occupy the East Bank.

there are two islands in the river, with its barren West Bank’s dunes, literally, on the water’s edge.

The West Bank has few touristic destinations, really amazing, structures including the Aga Khan Mausoleum, the Monastery of St Simeon, and the Tombs of the Nobles.

Aswan is located roughly where the Eastern Desert and the Western Desert meet,

just north of the great lake of water created because of the Aswan Dam called Nasser lake.

Colorful Nubian houses

Aswan climate:

Aswan has a beautiful winter climate and is a popular visiting season from November until March with Egyptians as well as international travelers.

The temperature range is around 22-32°C.

Aswan is very attractive and considered the busy market center of the area.

Its old name of Swenet means ‘trade’

Archaeologists can trace Aswan history back until the ancient times

when there are some pieces of evidence that suggest that Aswan was the very first Egyptian community.

Aswan people had relocated from the desert dunes to the fertile Nile banks

Because of searching for a supply of fish, water, and fertile land on which to grow produce.

They were trading their goods and so they gain a big reputation as a trading center.

Highlights in Aswan

As Swenet, the city had the essential role of protecting Egypt at its southernmost boundary from invaders

Shreds of evidence say that Aswan stone quarries had provided the granite rocks known as Syenite,

for most of the stunning temples, obelisks, and columns built by the pharaohs, including the Giza Pyramids.

Today, Aswan is famous for its plenty of palm trees and tropical gardens, located beside one of the largest parts of the Nile River.

Aswan palm trees from the complete guide about Aswan tourism

As such, it has a lot of islands dotted off its shores.

Two of the largest islands are Kitchener’s Island, known for being full of exotic plants, and the much wider Elephantine Island.

Aswan Attractions: Beauty waiting to be explored!

Aswan’s location at the cataract has continued to customize its history even in recent times.

At the end of the 19th century, Aswan grew into a travelers’ destination

because of its warm winter As suitable weather attracting European tourists, who want to escape the cold in their homelands for some time.

Today, Aswan is still one of the must-see tourist destinations in Egypt.

It’s known for beautiful natural sights along the Nile and also the Nubian culture which still a great influence in southern Egypt.

Aswan sunset view from the Nile

According to Cairo’s frenetic pace and the high concentration of tourists in Luxor in its many ancient Egypt monuments, and museums, Aswan offers a more relaxed experience.

Aswan is the smallest of Egypt’s major touristic cities, but it also bears the distinctive mark of the more relaxed Nubian culture.

Tourists, who are interested in the ancient Egypt history cannot pass up Aswan

Because of the wonderful Philae Temple nearby, it’s location is on an island behind the old Aswan Dam.

the famous Abu Simbel Temples is several hours south along the banks of Nasser Lake.

Check out our tours to Aswan:

Kalabsha and Nubian Museum Tours in Aswan

High Dam, Unfinished Obelisk and Philae Temple Tours in Aswan

 

 

 

 

best places to visit in Aswan

The best Places to Visit in Aswan including Abu Simbel and Nubian Museum

today, we will tell you about the best places to visit in Aswan as briefly as possible to help you have the best experience in Aswan.

Aswan for a long time has been hidden but now it starts to be remarked as one of the best places in Egypt besides Luxor.

Due to its fresh air, amazing landscape and also rare and beautiful ancient monument and reliefs.

Island tours :

The Nile River of Aswan contains a lot of different islands, every one of them is special and waiting to be explored.

It’s very near to the mainland, you can go there easily by local ferries or felucca (traditional sailboat),

but travelers and tourists gain a unique experience on these islands

The islands we are going to talk about are the Elephantine Island and Kitchener island

1- Elephantine island:

This island has more than colorful mud-brick houses, palm-trees and sandy houses.

This island is home for Aswan’s famous attractions as Aswan museum, the temple of Satet, Old kingdom temple of Khnum.

because of the monuments and buildings, it’s a prominent destination of any tour in Aswan.

This island is famous for the Nilometer which the ancient Egyptian use to Measure the rise or fall of the Nile and also predict the floods.

2-Kitchener island :

Take a boat ride to the island so you can visit Aswan botanical gardens and the famous temple of the Nobles.

Thanks to Lord Kitchener, the original owner of the island, the island becomes a great garden.

that contains different types of trees and plants from Africa and Asia.

Walking in this vast garden is a very enjoyable and beautiful thing you can do in Aswan especially if you are a nature lover.

Museum in Aswan :

If you are interested in Egyptian history as half of the people in the world.

you better visit Aswan and check out these wonderful museums that display a great collection of ancient documents and artifacts

1- Aga Khan Mausoleum:

Discover the Hidden Attractions in Aswan | Places to Visit in Aswan

It is located over the Nile bank, this museum is dedicated to sir Sultan Muhammed Shah.

he was the leader of the Shi’a Islam, Nizari Ismailia sect, he played a huge in affluential role in India partition.

This mausoleum contains his tombs and tells his life story

About his contribution and all the extensive and big charity, he did in Africa and Asia.

2-Nubian museum:

It’s considered one of the best places in Aswan, it has documents explaining the troubles and plight of people who were relocated to build Nasser lake and Aswan dam.

It also has pictures of ancient monuments, that have been lost under the water of Nasser lake during the dam construction.

The museum also contains artifacts of the Kush kingdom and ancient statues of Ramses||, the head of the Shpatka, Amenras, and the granite blank head of Tahraqa

3-Animalia:

It’s a small museum, dedicated to showcasing the tradition plants, animals and Nubia history.

It has a collection of stuffed animals that are endemic to Nubia , photographs of Nasser lake before the flood.

it also contains samples of sedimentary rocks and there are Nubian crafts are can buy from here, too

Aswan temples:

The temples of Aswan are beautiful for the eye and the soul. Don’t miss the chance  to visit these temples, the first temple we are going to talk about is :

1- Abu Simbel Temple :

If you still have some time to spend in Aswan, check out Abu Simbel , it’s one of the best places to visit in Aswan.

This temple was built by Ramses||, and you will be amazed by the ancient Egyptian engineering

2-Monastery of St.Simeon:

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This monastery belongs to the 7th century and well preserved and located on the west bank of the Nile

Take the time to see the Bizarre aisled Basilica and the fresco with Christ enthroned between angels

3-Philae temple:

It’s located on an island on the Nile, this peaceful and beautiful sanctum is adorned with inscriptions.

Its beautifully lit hieroglyphics and stone windows.

You’ll be fascinated by the perfect symmetry of Isis temple as it reflects on the river water, as you sail towards the island

Take this opportunity to attend the light and sound show here as this is one of the best things you can do in Aswan

4- Kalabsha temple:

This temple belongs to Roman Emperor Augustus’s time.

Kalabsha temple was saved by UNESCO from destruction during the dam’s construction

Now it’s one of the most monuments in Nubia. The historical reliefs describe scenes from Ramses||’s time

This temple is considered the youngest temple in Aswan

The Unfinished Obelisk:

It’s location is just a few minutes away from the Nubian Museum and Aswan’s downtown area.

the unfinished obelisk is a strange and skillful monument of Aswan’s heritage.

This is the largest standing stone in Egypt, it has no cracks during its construction, and it weighs about 1,168 tons

This unfinished Obelisk tells you a lot about the effort and time consumed in building

all of these wonderful  and great ancient Egypt and the amazing skills that these masons had

Here, you can see all of these efforts and skills reflected and obvious in all the faces of the Obelisk

check our trips in Aswan

Aswan tours

The Nubian museum in Aswan

The Nubian Museum is the best place to visit in Aswan

The Nubian Museum in Aswan is built to tribute the Nubian culture and high light the influence of the Nubian people and Nubia on Egyptian history.

The Nubian culture is as old as the Egyptian culture, it was existing along the Nile banks near the borders with Sudan.

By the construction of the high dam in Aswan, Nubia was destroyed and submerged by water, and all of the local people had to relocate.

However, UNESCO did serious efforts with the Egyptian government to save Nubia treasures and also some of the pharaonic temples, as well.

After an Egyptian initiative, UNESCO started an international appeal for the biggest process of monuments relocation in history;

More than 40 countries contribute in this operation either by sending workers to help in the rescue mission or by funding to help Egypt in saving these monuments.

This campaign was called,” Nubia rescue campaign”, this process took more than 20 years,

and it was capable of relocating 22 monuments and put them in a new location safe from the high water level.

Some of the monuments that have been rescued are:- the Temple of Dabod, the Temple of Calabsha, the Temple of Dendara,

The Temple of Beit Al Waly, the Temple of Amada and of course the famous and beautiful temple of Abu symbol and Philae Temple.

The Nubian museum Building history:-

Mahmoud Al-Hakim succeeded in designing the Museum to be in harmony with the area around it.

As the museum is surrounded by small mountains, huge rocks, and the beautiful sun of Aswan.

The wonderful lines of the museum’s architecture itself are enjoyable to watch.

outer view of The Nubian museum

The museum covers 50,000 squares meters, nestled into the hillside, and includes some gardens and building which is divided into parts or sections.

The museum is considered to be an entrance to the Nubian history

as it helps the visitors to know and see the beautiful history of this beautiful area.

Each monument and ruins has a brief description underneath it, which is written in English and Arabic.

The first attraction of the museum is its garden which contains more than eighty ancient monuments

and historical rocks, some of them were dedicated to Nubia’s gods.

In the garden, you can see some artificial waterfalls and lakes to remind with the Nile River and its flow into Nubia lands.

Many wild plants are planted in this area, it’s about 34,000 meters long.

The area contains a theatre that has regular Nubian shows for visitors.

To see the unique and amazing folkways of the Nubian culture,  and also contains a cave that has ancient drawings.

The Nubian Museum is made of two floors:-

The ground floor has the museum’s main gate, reception halls for visitors and exhibition halls.

The first floor has another exhibition hall, culture activities center and informational center.

When you first enter the museum, you need to walk to left direction to reach the starting point of the tour,

at first you can see some antiquities were discovered in Nubia about 3500 B.C.

The most fascinating monuments in this area include; a vessel made of an ostrich egg, bone comb with two giraffes carved on its handle.

In the” group A” area, you can see the relationship between the Nubia people and the people of southern Egypt.

These relationships were mainly based on the trading of wood, ivory and raw material, it’s also obvious that Elephant island was a trading center.

 

The most important exhibits of the area are: –

A polished quartz cosmetic palette which was used for crushing galena powder as it was used for eye make-up.

there is a beautiful vessel which decorated with a rowing boat, has multiple oars, some ostriches and numbers of the undulating line represent the water.

”Group C” tells the history of the new civilization in Nubia which started after the six pharaonic Dynasty decline or after the pyramids building period ended.

There is no real evidence that confirms the origin of the people who started the Nubian civilization, but the most accepted theory is that they came from the western desert.

The most beautiful displays of group C are:-

Tulip pots, a Meroitic offering table which has Meroitic writing on it, an ancient pot with a handle, statue of Harawa,

a crouching baby lion carved into clay, a statue of King Taharqa, a statue of Amenardis; she was the first Nubian princess to hold the title of Divine wife of Amun.

check our trips to Aswan:

KALABSHA AND NUBIAN MUSEUM TOURS IN ASWAN

FELUCCA RIDE TOURS IN ASWAN

ABU SIMBEL SOUND AND LIGHT SHOW