Egypt - Nile valley

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Abu Simbel


abu simbelThe two temples of Abu Simbel were built by the Pharaoh Ramesses II (who reigned from -1304 to -1213) during the XIXth dynasty.
It is dedicated to its own worship, and three great Egyptian gods : Amon, Rê and Ptah, and to his wife Nefertari.
About all the monuments built by Ramesses II, this large temple is considered as the most beautiful. Built in the rock of a hill, so far at south, they had to intimidate the Nubians, after the victory at the battle of Kadesh.
When the site was discovered in 1817, it was almost completely covered by sands by the Italian archaeologist Giovanni Battista Belzoni.

On the high frontage of 33m are four colossal statues of sited Ramesses II, 20m high each one. The pronaos is flanked of eight pillars osiriaques of ten meters to the features of Ramesses. The Pharaoh carries the crowns of up and down Egypt, at the sides of the statues, others smaller represent the mother and Nefertari, and between the legs, the statues of some of its sons.

abu simbel templeAbove of the entry, in a niche, the statue of the Rê-Harakhte god, falcon with the solar disc. Beside of the statues close to the entry, among decorations, the god of the Nile, abundance, is represented with flowers of lotus - representing high Egypt - and of the flowers of Papyrus - symbol of down Egypt - to show the union of the country thus.
Under this scene African prisoners southern side and Asian prisoners are represented northern side, attaches respectively with cords finishing in flowers of Papyrus and flowers of Lotus.

The entry carries out to the large room of the pillars, with eight statues of 11m.
In the room, on the right side, the scenes represent the victory of Ramesses II in Kadesh against the Hittites.
Then, in the room smaller, known as of noble, there are four covered pillars of relieves representing the Pharaoh and the divinities. The Pharaoh offers perfume and incense to the crowned boat of Amon.

This room leads to Sancta sanctorum, containing four statues which look towards the entry: the god Rê-Harakhte (the falcon with the solar disc), Ramesses, Amon-Rê (god of the sun and father of the gods) and Ptah (god of arts and trades). Here, thanks to the orientation of the temple, twice per annum the first rays of the sun are focused on the statue of the Pharaoh: February 21, day of its birth and on October 21, day of its crowning. Since the temple was moved, this phenomenon takes place on February 22 and October 22. Only the statue of the Ptah god, considered as the god of darkness, is never enlightened.

See also: photographs and representations of Abu Simbel


Lighthouse of Alexandria

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