It was already evening, when we reached Aswan. We were booked at Hotel Helnan Aswan. The hotel was magnificently placed beside the River Nile, and we had a magnificent view from the room.
Abu Simbel is a temple site located around 280 kms from Aswan. Abu Simbel known for temple of Ramses II and Nefertari (his primary wife), is located near Sudan border by the shores of Lake Nasser. This huge lake once almost submerged this huge temple complex. Hence, was conducted one of the largest and complex engineering projects known in history. The temple was cut in pieces each of around 20-30 tonnes, and reassembled as a temple in a safe location above the lake, where there was no chance of the temple getting submerged.
Abu Simbel is not open for access to tourists at all times. From Aswan, there are 2 convoys which leaves for Abu Simble: one at 3am in the morning and comes back around 11am to Aswan, another convoy goes around 11am and comes back in the late afternoon. The convoys are escorted by Egyptian Military.
We were a part of the 3am convoy. We reached there early morning around 7am.
The main temple is dedicated to Ramses II, and to gods Amun, Ra-Horakhty, and Ptah. The structures were created to commemorate Ramses’s victory in the Battle of Kadesh.
Around 100 meters away is the temple of Hathor and Nefertari.
This set of temples are definately one of the best, if not the best in all Egypt. The inside of the temples are filled with some awesome carvings and painting. Some of the original colors from around 1200 BC are still intact.
In Aswan we covered the Philae Temple, Aswan Dam, the unfinished obelisk and did a Felucca Ride on the Nile.
This temple is now situated on an island near Aswan. This is another beautiful temple dedicated to Isis, Egyptian Goddess of health, wisdom. You can go there via a short boat ride.
This obelisk was never completed as cracks developed while it was still getting cut from the bedrock in Aswan Quarries. At around 42m, this would have been the largest obelisk in the world, if it was completed. Now it stands lying in a quarry site in Aswan City.
Around late afternoon we did a felucca ride on the Nile. It was a nice experience. Goes without saying that in Egypt, everyone expects huge tips. We had a bit of an argument with the felucca owner as he was expecting a lot more tip than we gave him.