ABU SIMBEL Egypt Desert

Expedition Team: Jacque Miller, Dave Miller

Date: March 24, 2009

Quite a road trip. A severe sandstorm kept us from visiting here the day before. We joined a caravan of buses in Aswan for the 174 mile drive across the desert two lane highway in southern Egypt to see the famous Abu Simbel. Each bus (Photo #1) or van had a police officer in the front seat with a rifle to protect us from bandits or Sudan rebels. Our caravan hogged both lanes because out here vehicle traffic was very rare. At periodic checkpoints we saw four to six armed guards in each guard shack. We felt safe and were glad the bus did not break down in such a desolate Sahara Desert area.

Arriving at our destination we saw that Lake Nasser (Photo #2) was opposite Abu Simbel. Abu Simbel is the 3,000 year old temple of Ramesses II and his wife Nefertari built in 1265 BC.  Ramesses II was the 3rd Pharaoh of the 19th dynasty. Under his reign Egypt became a world power.  As Jacque and I approached the large temple (Photo#3 & #4) we marveled at the four colossal 66 foot statues on each side representing Ramesses II seated on the throne and wearing a double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. Small statues in front not higher than his knees depict his wife, mother, sons and daughters.

The temple had 23 foot tall entrance doors. Inside we viewed eight majestic Osiride pillars lining the entrance hallway, carvings and hieroglyphics. The temperature was much cooler inside but the rooms got smaller the deeper we went toward the sanctuary. Depictions of Ramessess II as the God Osiris were on many walls. 

The smaller temple of Abu Simbel is dedicated to Nefertari (Photo#5).  When we exited the temple, we passed through a bazaar of tents with Egyptians selling everything imaginable. For $2 American (or $11.00 in Egyptian currency), I purchased a small, black marble scarab and a Nefertari statue which I use today as paperweights. 

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