from Vol. II of the Lost Egypt portfolios
of Abu Simbel.
Abu Simbel is on the west bank of the Nile, 280 km (180 miles)
south of Aswan, in the ancient and now submerged land of Nubia. The area
of the temple was called "the Domain of Ramesses-Beloved-of-Amun."
Built by Ramesses II, it was rediscovered for the western world by Johann
Ludwig (Jean-Louis) Burckhardt in 1813. The colossus to the left of the
central portal probably broke apart due to seismic activity already during
the second half of the reign of Ramesses II. Of the features of the colossi,
Amelia Edwards wrote:
"A godlike serenity, an almost superhuman pride, an immutable will,
breathe from the sculptured stone. He has learned to believe his prowess
irresistible, and himself almost divine. If he now raised his arm to slay,
it would be with the serene placidity of a destroying angel."
Beginning in 1963, the temple of Ramesses II and the smaller neighboring
temple to his wife, Nefertari, were cut into blocks and removed to higher
ground to save them from the rising waters of Lake Nasser, the huge reservoir
behind the Aswan High Dam. This photograph was taken after Alexandre Barsanti
completed his restoration work on the temples in the years 1909-1910.