Nubia is derived from the ancient word 'Nebu' which stands for 'Gold'. The place really stands true to its meaning with the renowned Temple of Abu Simbel built by Ramesses II to exhibit his divine power. J.L. Burckhardt first discovered the Temple of Abu Simbel in 1813 AD when he spotted the fašade of the temple from the top of the mountain when he was about to leave the place through the Nile River.
Major Tourist Attractions
Temple of Abu Simbel
At the Temple of Abu Simbel, 65 ft high four statues of the king are shown sitting in pairs at the entrance. The head and upper body of the statues on the left fell down during the ancient period. East facing temple has the sculpture of the Re-Horakhty, the Sun God; excavated on the niche right above the entrance. The temple is build in such a manner that the rays of the sun illuminate even the innermost sanctuary of the temple and fall on the seated statues of the Ptah, Amun-Re, Ramesses II and Re-Horakhty twice a year, i.e., on 22nd February and 22nd October.
The temple is carved out of a colossal sandstone cliff near the Second Cataract above the Rive Nile. With the construction of High Dam and forming of the Lake Nasser in 1960s, it became necessary to move the temple from its original location to some higher ground. The salvation and transferring of the Abu Simbel was done with the help of the UNESCO, which was a monumental task and was accomplished successfully in 1963 at the cost of 36 million dollars.
Sunk Relief of the God Hapy
There is another noteworthy relief of the God Hapy, the God of Flood at Abu Simbel. The relief of the god is just below the seat of the huge statues of Ramesses II and appears twice. Hapy is the symbol of fertility, which results from the Nile Flood. Hapy God is an asexual god represented by large breast and swollen belly. The god is depicted holding stems of the lotus (Symbol of Upper Egypt) on his left hand and stems of papyrus (Symbol of Lower Egypt) on his right hand. His crown also displays these plants.
Temple of Hathor
Temple of Hathor is also built by Ramesses II and dedicated to Hathor, Goddess of Love and Music and his wife and queen Nefertari. The fašade of the temple is built like a pylon and has 33 ft high six standing statues. The entrance is adorned on each side with two statues of Ramesses with Nefertari fully clad as Hathor. Smaller statues are of their children that flank the massive statues.
How to Reach
By Air: There are regular flights for Abu Simbel from Aswan.
By Sea: The tourists can take a luxurious three-day cruise on Lake Nasser to reach Abu Simbel.
By Bus: There are buses and at least one microbus with police convoy daily from Aswan to Abu Simbel.