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In the New Kingdom of Egypt, the kings erected rock temples in the desert areas on both sides of the Nile, especially in Nubia, where the cult of the Egyptian gods stands out. Ramses II is the clear example, as builder of six temples during the Ramsesid Period: Beit el-Wali, the temple of ed-Derr, Gerf Hussein (submerged under the waters of the Nasser River) and Wadi es-Sebua. But it is in Abu Simbel where this architecture reaches its peak, where we appreciate the important beauty that the worship of the gods acquires.
Abu Simbel is situated in Nubia, to the south of Egypt, very close to its original location (since in 1968 it had to be moved necessarily to avoid being submerged by the Aswan dam that contains the waters of the Nile). We must highlight the great imagination of its young designer: the aforementioned Ramses II, who was not even 15 years old when he ordered its construction.
Abu Simbel consists of two temples: the major temple and the minor temple. The minor temple is dedicated to Queen Nefertari as goddess Hathor, beloved of the king and mother of princes and princesses. The main temple represents the worship of the gods Amun, Re-Harakhte and Ptah together with Ramses II deified.
This great temple consists of a facade dominated by four grandiose 22-meter-high statues representing Ramses II like “Sun of the monarchs”, “Monarch of the Two Lands”, “Ramses loved by Amun” and “Ramses loved by Aten”. It includes two rooms with pillars of the deified monarch (apparition and offering rooms) that are narrowing towards the west and reducing until reaching the sancta sanctorum or sanctuary: it is here where we find the so-called “Wonder of Abu Simbel”.
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In this little sanctuary we find the statues of Ramses II accommodated, represented as one more deity, along with the three great gods of the Ramsesid Period (previously described; Ptah, Amun-Re and Re-Harakhte).
Now, we call the “Wonder of Abu Simbel"To event that occurs twice a year due to the orientation of the temple, with such luck that: February 20 and October 20, that is, on the equinoxes (days of the year when day and night have the same duration) the rays of the rising sun light for brief moments the sanctuary located at the back of the temple, illuminating all the statues present except that of the god Ptah , which remains in the shade, we suppose because of its relationship with the underworld.
In addition, these two mentioned dates coincide curiously with the day of the birthday and the day of the coronation of the monarch who ordered to build such greatness, a phenomenon that although it has not been possible to demonstrate as such, is a great tourist and advertising claim at present, being a very common travel destination among those who travel to Egypt.