Abu Simbel - Great Temple of Ramesses II
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The façade of the Great Temple is dominated by four rock-cut seated statues of the king, approximately 21 m high (69 ft), two each on either side of the temple’s entrance. Smaller statues of the king’s wife and mother stand on either side of Ramesses II’s legs, with images of some of his children between his feet. A statue of the god Re-Horakhty is located in a niche above the entrance. At the top of the façade is a row of baboons raising their arms in adoration of the rising sun.

The entrance hall into the temple contains eight square pillars adorned with standing statues of the king as Osiris. The north wall of the hall is decorated with scenes from the famous Battle of Kadesh, fought by Ramesses II in modern-day Syria during the early part of his reign, while the south wall has scenes of Syrian, Libyan, and Nubian battles. The east wall depicts Ramesses II with various gods and goddesses; one particularly interesting scene shows the king, accompanied by his ka and nine princesses, smiting Libyan captives before Re-Horakhty. A similar scene on the same wall shows him with his ka and eight princes, smiting Nubian captives before Amun-Re. On the west wall, the king presents Nubian captives to the god Amun-Re and Hittite captives to the god Re-Horakhty. Two undecorated rooms, which were probably used for storage, open off the northern wall of the hall. A second pillared hall, decorated with images of Ramesses II and Nefertari making offerings to the gods, lies west of the first. Beyond this is the sanctuary, into whose back wall have been carved rock-cut images in very high relief, of Ptah, Amun-Re, Ramesses II, and Re-Horakhty. All of the statues in the sanctuary except Ptah (who has netherworld associations) are illuminated by the rising sun twice a year.

South of the temple of Ramesses II is a rock-cut chamber, which was probably a mammisi, or symbolic “birth house.”

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The Great Temple, façade (SCA Archives)

 

The Interior of the Great Temple (SCA Archives)