We flew to Aswan to begin our incredible sightseeing journey of ancient Egyptian temples, of which two: Abu Simbel and Philae are located south of Aswan.
The drive to Abu Simbel took more than 2 hours one way through the Nubian desert. The two temples built in the 13th century B.C. by Ramses II at Abu Simbel were rescued during the 1960s from the rising waters of the artificial lake that was created when the Aswan dams were constructed; the temples were then transported to the present site and rebuilt against an artificial cliff. The four monumental figures of Ramses II guard the entrance to the Great Temple of Ramses II, while the Temple of Hathor nearby is guarded by six statues of Ramses, his queen Nefertari and their sons and daughters. Our very kind and knowledgeable guide Mariam Tawfik was instrumental in motivating us to get up at 4 before dawn to embark on this extraordinary excursion that took us to the most memorable sights Egypt has to offer.
The Temple of Philae, located on an island, can be reached by coach from Aswan in around 30 min., but not so easily, as in order to arrive at the destination we were we guided to a boat, which after a passage through the Nubian village (little houses along the shore inhabited by a group of Africans indigenous to southern Egypt) brought us to the entrance. The Temples of Philae, originally founded in 4th century B.C. were submerged by the building of the first Aswan Dam in 1902, and the ruins were dismantled and rebuilt on Agilika island. Visited December 2018-January 2019.