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 Abu Simbel

The Lesser Temple

A pathway leads from the Great Temple to the smaller temple, which is also close to the water's edge. Although the features of the Lesser Temple are not as grand as the Great Temple, it is still impressive:

On either side of the doorway are three colossi (four of the six represent Ramesses II, the two remaining represent his wife Queen Nefertari), smaller statues stand at the sides of each (sons of Ramesses II stand with him, daughters stand with the queen). Inscriptions state how Ramesses II commanded the temple to be made: "His Majesty commanded a temple to be made in the land of 'Ta-Kens' in [the form of] an excavation in the hill: nothing like it had been made before".

 1 - Large Hall

2 - Vestibule

3 - Sanctuary

The Large Hall

The roof here is supported by six large columns, decorated by Hathor totems. On the North wall Ramesses II is shown before Ptah, he worships the ram-headed Hershef of Heracleopolis, Queen Nefertari stands before Hathor of On. On the South wall, Ramesses II stands before Hathor of Abshek, also between Set of Nubt and Horus of Maha, Queen Nefertari worhships Anuket and the King adores Amun-Re. On the West wall Nefertari is shown before Hathor of Abshek and before Mut - there are also three doorways leading into the Vestibule.

The Vestibule

The doorways leading into the Vestibule have Nefertari's cartouches, the doorways leading into small chambers either side of the room have Ramesses II's cartouches. Scenes in this room show the King and Queen standing before - Hathor, Isis, khnum, Satis, Harmachis, Anukis, Amen-Ra and Horus. In the middle of the wall a single doorway leads into the Sanctuary (above the doorway are small figures of the king and queen before Hathor).

The Sanctuary

A small chamber with scenes of Ramesses II worshipping the Hathor cow (this temple is dedicated to Hathor), the queen is shown in the presence of Mut and Hathor. Either side of the doorway are figures of Hapi, above the doorway is the cartouche of Nefertari. Ramesses II is also shown standing before seated figures of himself and Nefertari.


Florence Nightingale visited the Lesser Temple in her travels in the last part of the 19th Century, you can read an excerpt HERE