Today, I had planned to visit and photograph some more Greek Thomson architecture sites in preparation for a new web page on the subject. However, I was stymied in my endeavours on two accounts: (a) very poor weather and light conditions and (b) continuing very slow recovery from a harsh cold/flu which leaves me in the ‘walking wounded’ category.

This evening, I have decided to dip in again to my recent visit to some of the famous archaeological sites of Egypt, at least the images of blue skies and sunshine should help to lift spirits during a dark Glaswegian winter!

Memories of Abu Simbel will linger with me for a long time, not least because the visit entailed a 2.30am start and a long coach drive through the desert to reach the site just after dawn broke. Like many equivalent sites in Egypt I felt I was just part of a mass tourism production line with quality of information and the overall visitor experience somewhat mediocre. Compared to this the quality of information etc., at a typical Historic Scotland site is on a different (higher) level, but that said the climates are not comparable and Egypt is not Scotland.

Despite concerns with quality of the visit experience and very early start, I am very glad that I went because I can at least now physically connect with this world-famous site and research more information at my leisure.

Some key information on Abu Simbel:

  • Theoretically dedicated to Amon-Ra, Harmakis and Ptah but in reality constructed for the glory of Ramses the Great (Ramses II)
  • Built about 2000 years ago and then relocated to current site during 1965-9 to avoid being swamped by the rising waters of the Nile due to the construction of the Aswan Dam.
  • The torso of one of the statues is missing due to an earthquake.
  • The facade consists of four colossal statues (20m high) of the Pharaoh, Ramses.
  • Inside the body of rock is a temple comprising a number of rooms including a sanctuary with various statues including those of Harmakis, Ramses II, Nefertari and others. Photography is not allowed inside.
  • Not to be overlooked is the ‘small’ temple or Temple of Hathor, dedicated to Nefertari. This can be seen in the right section of image no 1 below.

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