The temples of Abu Simbel were built out of solid rock over 3,000 years ago, to honour Pharaoh Rameses II and his queen Nefertari.
|The Temple of Nefretari at Abu Simbel before its relocation. Tourists reached the temple by felucca boat.|
The Egyptian government under General Nasser in the 1950's, planned to construct the Aswan dam to control the unpredictable annual Nile floods and provide hydroelectric power. The building of the dam would place Abu Simbel underwater.
In 1959 the Egyptian and Sudanese governments wrote to UNESCO for assistance. This became a huge multinational effort to save Abu Simbel. The plan was to move the monuments completely away from the river, 65 metres higher and 200 metres back onto an artificial hill. Inside the hill, a concrete dome would house the interior of the temple.
The work began in 1964; the statues and temples were carved into 20 ton blocks and put back together on the new site. The reconstructed temple was positioned so that the sun, at certain times of the year, illuminates the interior, as did the original temple. Abu Simbel's move was completed in 1968 and cost over $40 million.
With Inside Egypt you will have an opportunity to see the temple of Rameses II from a completely different perspective. View the temple from the inside of a man-made mountain erected to support the temple of Abu Simbel in its new location. You can go inside the mountain of Abu Simbel itself to see the dome and construction of the temple and learn more about the behind-the-scenes work of archaeologists on this unique complex.