Carved out of a mountainside, this site is one of the most dramatic of all the temples built in Egypt. It Consists of two temples, the smaller temple, dedicated to Hathor and Queen Nefertari, has been visited by travellers for centuries. The Great Temple has been hidden by sand for centuries, it was not rediscovered until 1813 by Jean Louis Burckhardt (a Swiss explorer), the first to enter the temple in modern times was Giovanni Belzoni on 1 August 1817.

Four colossal statues of Ramesses II wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, sit either side of the central doorway. The statues of Ramesses II (over 65 feet tall) dwarf the other statues found at the temple - above the doorway is Re-Herakhty, the others stand by the legs of the seated statues: Maat, and the more important members of the Royal family which are in groups of three:

 Princess Nebettawi

Princess Iset-Nofret II

Princess Bintanath

Dowager Queen Tuya

Prince Amenhirkhepshef

Queen Nefertari

Queen Nefertari

Prince Ramesses

Princess Baketmut

Princess Meritamen

Princess Nefertari II

Dowager Queen Tuya

Surrounding the entrance doorway to the temple are Ramesses II's cartouches, figures of gods and scenes of Ramesses II before Amun-Re, Mut, Re and Werthekau. Above the doorway is a figure of Re with a jackal headed staff (User) and a figure of Maat, above these figures are 22 baboons.

 Inside the temple, the corridor extends 160 feet into the mountainside, ending at the sanctuary.

 1 - Entrance 2 - Great Hall 3 - Second Hall 4 - Third Hall 5 - Sanctuary

The Great Temple also has an account of the Battle of Kadesh - it covers an area fifty feet long by forty feet wide and consists of thousands of figures.

Amelia Edwards famously wrote about Abu Simbel when she visited it in 1873, you can read an extract of her account HERE

Also of Interest - The Lesser Temple at Abu Simbel