Abu Simbel Temple, 1870

Abu Simbel Temple, 1870

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Credit: Los Angeles County Museum/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Temple of Abu Simbel photographed by Antonio Beato, Egypt, circa 1870. Albumen print. The Abu Simbel temples are two massive rock temples in Nubia, southern Egypt. The complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Nubian Monuments, which run from Abu Simbel downriver to Philae (near Aswan). The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh, and to intimidate his Nubian neighbours. The complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary to avoid their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser. Legend has it that Abu Simbel was a young local boy who guided archaeologists to the site of the buried temple.

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