Souvenirs from Egypt
The Abu Simbel Temples (also known as the ‘Nubian Monuments’) are two astonishing constructions located in Abu Simbel, in the Southern Egyptian region of Nubia. Situated near the Lake Nasser, the complex of Abu Simbel has been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site and was created during the reign of famous Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC as an everlasting twin monument dedicated to himself and his wife, queen Nefertari. It was erected as an impressive structure celebrating the successful military victory of Kadesh while reinforcing the dynasty’s power and influence. Later on, Abu Simbel was relocated during the construction of the Lake Nasser which followed the building of the Aswan Dam on the Nile River. Today a visit to the Abu Simbel Temple is a journey across Egypt’s fascinating heritage. A resin fridge magnet souvenir is a beautiful reminder of this iconic landmark.
The Temple of Abu Simbel, Ramesses II’s Masterpiece
Throughout centuries, the Monument was forgotten and eventually covered by the desert sands only to be rediscovered at the beginning of the 19th century when the Swiss Jean-Louis Burckhardt came across one of its friezes and managed to dig out the entrance to the temple with the help of another Italian researcher. However, local tradition claims that Abu Simbel was the name of a local boy who rediscovered the temple covered by sands. In 1959 a huge fund-raising campaign was initiated to save the Monument from the waters of the Nile River following the works at the Aswan Dam. William MacQuitty suggested the creation of a fresh water dam and underwater viewing rooms, an extravagant project later rejected. Instead, in 1964 a multi-disciplinary team supported by UNESCO began the heavy task of dismantling the temples and moving them in a higher location. In what is now considered one of the greatest archaeological projects ever implemented, the constructions were saved from the waters for future generations.
A Temple of Pharaoh Secrets
Built around Ramesses II egocentric personality, the complex was the result of a 20-year long construction which started around 1264 BC and it was part of a six temple project which aimed of intimidating rivals and propagating the official religion of the Egyptian state. The larger temple celebrated Ra-Harakhty, Ptah and Amun, the main Egyptian gods of the era and also displayed different statues of Pharaoh Ramesses II whereas the smaller temple is a representation of Nefertari as Goddess Hathor. The impressive façade of the temple is a rich collection of statues and a frieze with baboon sun worshippers. The small temple was dedicated to Ramesses II’s wife and love, Nefertari and represents one of the only two temples dedicated to a queen in the whole history of Egypt. Two rows of statues celebrate the royal couple with symbols of political power in an unprecedented representation in which the Pharaoh and his wife are depicted as equals.
Abu Simbel, an Ancient Story of Egypt
The detailed bas-reliefs depict scenes during the ceremony of Ra worshipping and also refer to Ma'at, the Goddess of Truth and Justice. There is also a splendid stele which describes Ramesses’s marriage with King Hattusili III’s daughter in a historical gesture of creating peace between Egyptians and the Hittites. The axes of the temples were designed to create spectacular effects of sunlight illuminating the gallery of sculptures from the back wall on the 21st of October and the 21st of February of every year. The dates marked 61 days before and after the winter solstice which were believed to be the King’s anniversary and crowning day.