The Great Temple Ramesses II is located near Abu Simble on the shore of Lake Nasser in southern Egypt, near to the border with Sudan. The temple is one of two, the other being the smaller temple of Queen Nefertari, the wife of Ramesses located nearby. Originally hewn from the cliffs of the Nile Gorge the temples were deconstrcuted and moved to their current location in order to save them from being flooded by the waters of Lake Nasser which was created during the construction of the Aswan Dam.
The four enormous statues at the entrance all represent the Pharaoh Ramesses the second, each is 20m tall. He is shown wearing the combined crown of Lower and Upper Egypt. If you look closely at the images you can see the lines were the statues were sawn into blocks in order to be moved. The statue to the left of the entrance was damaged in an earthquake before the move. The statues are marked with various graffiti from ancient times to modern. Ramesses II was known as ‘the Great’ by his descendants and was responsible for the construction of a number of cities and impressive monuments along the Nile. It is estimated that he lived into his 90s and was the longest ruling Pharaoh. He was buried in the Valley of the Kings and his mummy is now on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The temple is aligned so that on February 22nd and October 22nd the sun lights up the back wall of the inner temple which has a carving of Ramesses depicted as a diety along with Ra, god of the sun, Amun and Ptah. It is believed that these dates may have represented the Pharaoh’s birthday and coronation, though due to the resiting of the temple and changes in the tilt of the earth the exact alignment has probably changed.