Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The wonder of Abu Simbel

ASWAN - To visit one of the most remarkable sites in the world today - the temples built to Rameses II at Abu Simbel, in Southern Egypt, close to the Sudanese border. The sheer size of the temples is remarkable, as is the preservation of the art inside. Rameses was a narcissistic sort, as we had already seen on a two-day visit to Cairo, which included Memphis. He was also a great spin doctor, turning treaties that followed unwon wars into great victories over his enemies, illustrated on the walls of these great temples. Perhaps no less remarkable than their survival since the thirteenth century BC is the way the temples were transplanted whole to their present site to make way for the flooding that created Lake Nasser. Visiting the site involves a convoy of buses and cars with military escort, departing Aswan just twice in the morning, at 4am and 11am, and a 600km round trip with a couple of hours at the site. But it is a great experience, and a clear highlight of our trip to Egypt so far.

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