The Sound and Light show at Abu Simbel will take you on a journey through history, settling at the time of the Pharaohs. With enchanting melodious music, we will bring the ancient world back to life. The show includes projections, showing how they looked originally. The show is presented in different languages, with the provision of earpieces. This extraordinary experience can’t be missed, ensuring memories of a lifetime.
Aside from the pyramids of Giza, the magnificent temple at Abu Simbel is perhaps the most recognized symbol of ancient Egypt. It aroused your curiosity, leaving you in a maze of questions. How did the ancient Egyptians manage to carve these humongous statues and temples out of the deep rock of the mountainside? Why did one Pharaoh build numerous monuments to himself? And, and why did he build many of them so far away from his capital?
Abu Simbel was located 280 km from Aswan on the West bank of the Nile in what was once called Nubia. The site was commissioned by Ramses the Second, also known as Ramses the Great, during the 5th year of his long reign, and it was not completed until his 35th year as Pharaoh. It is the largest and most beautiful of the many monuments Ramses the Great erected throughout Egypt to proclaim his power. The massive façade, cut into the mountainside, features four statues of Ramses himself, each 20 meters high. Smaller statues of the royal family stand between the four largest statues. These include Ramses’ mother, his wife Nefertari, and their sons and daughters.
Another notable monument located outside near the statues, the Marriage Stela, commemorates the marriage between Ramses’ daughter and the King of the Hittites. Ramesses II has built a temple, carved in the mountain, for Nefertari, the beloved of Mu, for whose sake the sun shines.
Within the temple, eight large statues depict Ramses as the god Osiris, supporting the hefty ceiling. At first, visitors will pass through vast halls, containing rooms for the different rituals. Then, they will arrive at the most famous part of Abu Simbel Temple; a sanctuary room with a small altar and four statues of Ramses as different gods. The temple was designed so precisely that two days each year, in October and February, the morning sunbeam, with its glorious rays falls directly into the small sanctuary room, illuminating the four statues. On the southern side of the main temple, there is a smaller temple dedicated to Ramses wife Nefertari and the goddess Hathor.
With the announcement of the plan to build the High Dam at Aswan, Abu Simbel was threatened to become an underwater sanctuary. Images of the gigantic statues appeared on the front pages of newspapers around the globe. Nobody wanted to see the statues sink beneath the rising Nile waters. The salvage of Abu Simbel began in 1963 in a project between Egypt and UNESCO. At a cost of nearly $36 million, the statues and temples were moved to a higher plateau, where they welcome the rising sun each morning.
Like other sites in Egypt, Abu Simbel survived all the harsh conditions, becoming one of the most preserved monuments. When the Greeks visited the site in the 6th century BC, mounds of sand had grown so high that the knees of Ramses statues were covered. When the Victorian traveler, Amelia Edward visited Abu Simbel in 1873, the site was so captivating that it left her breathless. She said: “it was wonderful to wake every morning close under the steep bank, and without lifting one's head from the pillow, to see that row of giant faces so close against the sky. They showed unearthly enough by moonlight, but no half so unearthly as in the grey of dawn. At that hour, the most solemn of the twenty-four, they wore a fixed and fatal look that was little less than appalling. As the sky warmed, this awful look was succeeded by a flush that mounted and deepened like the rising flush of life. For a moment they seemed to glow – to smile – to be transfigured. Then came a flash, as of thought itself. It was the first instantaneous flash of the risen sun. It lasted less than a second. It was gone almost before one could say that it was there. The next moment, mountain, river, and sky, were distinct in the steady light of day; and the colossi - mere colossi now - sat serene and stony in the open sunshine. Every morning I waked in time to witness that daily miracle.”