It is one of the most significant and interesting ancient temple of Egypt. It is located near the southern border of Sudan and 280km south from Aswan which includes two rock-cut temples and shows the history of king Ramses II who ruled from 1290-1223 BC. The temple was affected by the submersion in Lake Nasser but its reconstruction was an historic event it happened because of the construction of High Dam. Help was taken from many counties and UNESCO to save this precious monument. They were reconstructed on a 65m high than their original location and 200m back inland to save from rising water level of Lake Nasser. This rescue operation took 4 years from June 1984 to September 1968. These two temples are 3000 years old and reconstructed temples are built of sandstone cliff. The new look of temples are exactly parallel to each other facing the sun and covered with artificial mountain. The outer side of temple was filled by relic experts, the marks inside the temple still shows where the blocks were cut. The photographs inside man made dome still shows the work of massive removal project.
This temple was first observed by J.L.Burckhardt in the year 1813, while he looked over the mountain and saw this beautiful and unique site. He was about to leave the area via Nile River when he saw this site. These two temples are of Ramesses II and dedicated to Re-Harakhte and to wife, Nefertari and she dedicated to God Hathor. This is the must see site for the tourists. This site requires a trip from the Nile. As the north and south sides of the temple are surrounded by the brick walls which occupies a place between the sandstones, cliffs and the river. It was also cut into the face of the cliff which is a rock cut terrace. It is fixed with the flight of steps which are plane in the middle, which stood a row of hawks and statues of Rames in various forms. There are four seated figures of Ramses. These statues of faces are built at the height of 100 feet and 119 feet wide. There are very eye catchy statues on top of the pylon where baboons are place and spread their hands towards the rising sun. It was said that baboons are helping the sun God Ra to beat the darkness of night which are sacred to worship of rising sun.
There are series of halls and rooms which extends up to 185 feet from the entrance, in the sacred cave, which is located inside the temple. The first hall is 54 feet wide and 58 feet deep which has two rows of osirid and 30 feet statues of Ramses. The north side wears the white crown of Upper Egypt while the south side wears the Double Crown of Lower Egypt. You will see three doors on the west end of the main hall. The side doors leads towards the lateral chambers, the central door faces a room of four square pillars. From this central room there is a doorway and beyond that the statues of Gods Prah, Amun-Ra, Ramses II and Re-Horakhte are located. You can also attend fabulous light show at phile temple, which is scheduled on different days and time.
Reach the temple of Simbel from Aswan
Aswan is the biggest and 3rd largest city of the Upper Egypt, and one of the famous and favorite places of the tourists. Aswan is the major production of aluminum and iron and a stop for cruise boats as most of the Nile cruises pass sail between Aswan and Luxor. Aswan is a very good place for shopping and a huge market of fresh spices. The city came into limelight after the construction of Huge Dam. Aswan mostly consists of Nubians and local tribes of Kenzo. The word Aswan is divided from the ancient Egyptian word Swan, which means the market. It is located on the main trading route between Egypt and southern lands where the trade of gold and ivory was carried at that time. Aswan is also a major source of granite, sandstone and quartzite which were used in construction of monuments around the Egypt. God Khoum was the God of the city in ancient Egypt but later on the Goddess Isis which was treated as Goddess of magic and maternity became the God and people built a temple named Philae for her. Aswan city has a very hot climate throughout the year, as it is located in north towards the tropic of caner. Proper care should be taken like covering the head and frequently drinking of water while visiting Aswan.
Egypt Air is the best option for you if you are planning to fly for Aswan. It has daily flights and takes 70 minutes from Cairo. Aswan airport is the most refined international airport in the Upper Egypt. Aswan airport is located 15km to the south west of the city. If you want to travel by train to Aswan you can reach the Aswan station which is located in the center. The trains run from Cairo or Luxor. These are sleeper trains which reasonable rates.
Lavish Nile cruises are also available for the visitors from Luxor to Aswan. It is the usual cruise and a good option for those who want to enjoy the blue pools, clubs, restaurants, book stores and libraries. A Nile cruise also includes cocktail parties, Nubin shows and belly dancers for the tourists. There are different packages in the Nile Cruise which offer different facilities. You can also enjoy the option of Feluccas a traditional boat which should be taken for several hours to get the original Egyptian Nile experience. Multi day feluccas are also available for the tourists. The cruise business almost closes down in the month of April because of raising water levels of Nile River. Mid October to May is the best time to visit Aswan, when the weather is cool and you will be able to enjoy more sites in this weather. However you can peacefully visit in summer if you are able to beat the heat. Egypt is cheap and affordable, and there is no limit of money for the visitors to bring. Bank receipts are required if you are carrying more than EGP 5000. The present value of Egyptian currency is 6.2 pounds per dollar. Passport and visa are required for the foreigners expect for some Middle Eastern countries.
Accommodation in Aswan
There are very good hotels in Aswan with highest quality if standards and services. The local people in Aswan city are very helpful and friendly. The Old Cataract Hotel is among the most famous hotels of Aswan and is one of the most expensive hotels today. The famous people and guests from different countries take accommodation in this hotel. The book “Death of the Nile” was written by Agatha Christie while she was in her stay at this hotel.
Places to visit in Aswan
This city is very rich in unique monuments and temples you can visit these sites while your visit to this rich archaeological city.
- The Temple of Edfu
- The Temple of kom Ombo
- Philae Temple
- The Unfinished Obelisk
- The High Dam
- The Tomb Chapels of the Nobles
- The Botanical Island (Eleplantine Island)