Abu Simbel: Better than the Pyramids

Sorry I haven’t written in a while, but moving to Texas and starting the job search process over again has taken up most of my time.  I’m really excited about this post because it is about my favorite place in Egypt…Abu Simbel!

Most people go to Egypt in hopes of seeing the Pyramids and the Sphinx (that was what I was excited about), but there is something far better awaiting you in Egypt.  In my opinion, the two temples built by Rameses ll at Abu Simbel surpasses the Pyramids in every way.

Set on Lake Nesser, the two temples provide insight into the artistic ability of the ancient Egyptians.  The entrance to the main temple is guarded by four enormous statues.  I began to have the Indiana Jones feeling again as I entered the temple; if only I had brought a whip (most likely a lot of people would have gotten hurt, myself included, if I had brought one).  Inside the temple were statues acting as columns, carvings lining the walls, and paintings covering the ceilings.  The temple was covered in artwork, inside and out.  It was amazing that the artwork had been so well preserved after three thousand years of being exposed to the elements, not to mention both temples were moved to avoid flooding.  One of the coolest parts of Abu Simbel was seeing the remaining blue, black, and yellow ink on some of the carvings.  The colorful artwork gave me an entirely new appreciation of ancient Egyptian ingenuity.

The six standing statues outside the other temple were fun to examine because hieroglyphics bordered each statue.  As I spent time observing the hieroglyphics, I began to understand some of the writings.  It was crazy because one strand of hieroglyphics stated, “Everyone must donate money to Brandon so he can continue his world travels.” Who would have guessed that Ramses ll made a royal decree that would benefit me three thousand years later (I accept cash and checks, but no credit cards because I don’t have a place to swipe it).  If you don’t believe me, go to Abu Simbel and read for yourself; otherwise, pay up!

Although Abu Simbel is amazing, there are a few negative things that I must mention.  First, you have to stay in Aswan (I didn’t like Aswan very much), and the bus drive from Aswan to Abu Simbel takes about three hours each way.  Second, there are a ton of tourist there because all of the buses ride in a convoy and arrive at the same time.  Third, they only give you two hours to tour the temples.  I spent a little more than two hours looking around and my bus almost left me (I would have had to start giving tours if my bus left me because I didn’t bring any money).  As a side note, there are ways to spend more time at Abu Simbel and avoid the crowd (let me know if you want to hear about it).  Even with these negative aspects of my trip to Abu Simbel, the temples were my favorite part of the the entire trip.


8 thoughts on “Abu Simbel: Better than the Pyramids”

  1. funny- your post fits right with what we are getting ready to do- we are going to Egypt on the 21st and planning a side trip to this place (flying instead of a bus) so we will let you know how we like it. Follow our blog after we get back to see the pictures- we’ll be there from Jan. 21-30th. Any other helpful hints?

  2. Some places you should visit in Cairo are the Cairo Museum, Citadel of Cairo, Coptic Cairo (I took the train here), and Khan El Khalili market. Outside of Cairo, I would highly recommend going to Luxor. The Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple were really cool. I found a really cheap rate at the Steignberger Hotel in Luxor. I’m not sure if there’s still a good rate, but the hotel was very nice. If you are adventurous enough, you can save money by hoping on local mini buses to get to the different sites. I did this in Luxor and Aswan. It was fun and only cost one Egyptian pound. Egypt has so much to offer, it really depends on what you want to see and do. These are a few things that I really enjoyed. If you have any other questions let me know.

  3. Abu Simbel is AWESOME. Such a surprise to see those huge statues staring at you….

    We went by road early one morning from Aswan. We were staying at the Isis Island hotel in the middle of the Nile. We managed to leave our minibus for dead after 2 attempts and eventually had to pile in with a bunch of backpackers in another minibus.

    22 of us in a bus built for 14 – that’s Egpt! We love it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s