The two temples at Abu Simbel were built by Ramses II, in the 13th century BC.

The big temple, which is known as the Great Temple of Ramses II, was dedicated to the Sun God Re-Herakhte. It is among the most magnificent monuments in the world. Ramses II built the temple with four colossal statues of himself at the entrance to demonstrate his power and his divine nature.

The most remarkable phenomenon of the temple is that it’s precisely oriented so that twice every year, on Ramses II’s birthday and the anniversary of his coronation (22 October and 22 February of each year), the first rays of the morning sun shine down the entire length of the temple to illuminate three of the four seated Gods in the innermost chamber, the holy sanctuary. The three Gods are Ramses II himself, Amon Ra (the Sun God), and Re-Harakhte (God of the rising sun). The fourth God, Ptah, God of the under-world and darkness, remains in total darkness.

Nearby lies the small temple of Nefertari, the first wife of Ramses II. Her temple was dedicated to the Goddess Hathor, the wife of the Sun God.

Both temples were carved out of solid rock at a site on the west bank of the Nile Valley in the ancient land of Nubia. The site area is known today as Abu Simbel.

The temples were rediscovered by J. L. Burckhardt in 1813 and they were first explored by the Egyptologist Giovanni Battista Belzoni.

With the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s, the temples were threatened with submersion under the rising waters of the reservoir (Lake Nasser). As a result, a project sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Egyptian government disassembled both temples and reconstructed them on top of the cliff, 60 meters above the original site.

(as from 1st Novembre 2019)

  • Morning visit (opening hours: 6am - 5pm)
    Foreign Adult: LE 255
    Foreign Child/Student: LE 135

    22 October and 22 February
    Foreign Adult: LE 515
    Foreign Child/Student: LE 265

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If you wish to see the sound and light you need to spend the night in a hotel in Abu Simbel.


The site can be reached by:
  • Car/bus (No more convoys)
    Abu Simbel is located 280 km south of Aswan and it takes approximately 3 hours to reach the site.

    You can leave to Abu Simbel in a car/bus (private or shared). You need to provide the name of your hotel and a copy of your passport to your travel agent to obtain the tour permission from the Egyptian Travel Agents Association - ETAA. The road from Aswan to Abu Simbel opens at 5am and closes at 5pm from Abu Simbel.

    You can leave to Abu Simbel before 5am from Aswan but you need to obtain a special permission. Ask your travel agent.
  • Plane
    There are many daily flights to Abu Simbel from Cairo and Aswan. Check www.egyptair.com.
  • Cruise ship
    There are two options: either to start from Aswan High Dam and end at Abu Simbel or vice versa. A cruise journey takes 3 or 4 days, depending on the cruise itinirery.
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