I heard that the town of Aswan is quite a nice place to explore, but after a bout of food poisoning and a bad cold, I was in no state to explore.
Abu Simbel Temple
The most important pharaoh in the history of ancient Egypt is Ramses II, who ruled Egypt for 67 years. Abu Simbel is one of his temples and is dedicated to four gods: Ra, Ramses II, Amun and Bitah.
The temple is in fantastic condition and shows absolutely stunning scenes of the fight between the Egyptians and the Hittites. A temple with fight scenes is unique as all other temples show scenes of Coronations and other similar things.
The entrance to the temple has four large sculptures of Ramses II at various stages in his life. The smaller statues between his legs depict his children.
Both temples were originally built along the banks of the Nile. When a decision was made to build the Aswan Dam, people became aware that this would flood the section of the Nile were the two temples are found. A huge effort and absolutely astounding effort was made to move the temple to higher ground. For the untrained eye, little to no damage to the temples was sustained in the process. If you weren’t told, there is no way you would guess that the temples had been moved.
While Abu Simbel is most definitely the more impressive of the two, they are both stunning temples, with such detail in the carvings and paintings. Many of the original colours still remain.
Be aware that the trip to Abu Simbel takes 3 hours each way from Aswan. Typically this is done as a police convoy departing Aswan at 4:30am, it then leaves Abu Simbel to return to Aswan at 10:30am.
Cost: 100 EGP
Similarly to Abu Simbel, the Philae Temple was found on an island in the Nile River. Unfortunately, it was not rescued prior to the Aswan Dam being built and as a result was submerged.
Some years after it was originally submerged a restoration process was undertaken to move the temple to a nearby island. The temple is by no means complete, but it is a reasonable representation of what it once was. It is a greek design built during the Greek Empire and is dedicated to the goddess Isis.
The temple took 47 years to build and has the same design as basically all temples in Egypt. The temple first has a gate or pilons. Entering through the gate goes into an open court, followed by a colonnade hall and ending in a sanctuary.