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Abu Simbel

The archaeological complex of Abu Simbel comprises two massive rock temples in southern Egypt on the western bank of the Nile. It is a part of the Nubian Monuments UNESCO World Heritage Site, which runs from Abu Simbel downriver as far as Philae.

The twin temples were carved out of the mountainside by Pharaoh Ramses II in the 13th century BC to intimidate his Nubian neighbors and as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari.

Between 1964 and 1968, the entire site was dismantled and reassembled in a new location – 65 m higher and 200 m back from the river – to save the temples from the rising water levels caused by the construction of the Aswan High Dam.

Model showing the relative positions of the Abu Simbel temples before and after their relocation; the horizontal line in the center of the photo indicates Lake Nasser's current water level. Nubian Museum, Aswan.