Egypt History: Holidays in Abu Simbel - Aswan - Kom Ombo and Edfu

Egypt History: Holidays in Abu Simbel - Aswan - Kom Ombo and Edfu
    holidays in Abu Simbel , Aswan, Kom Ombo and EdfuAswan has been a favorite winter resort since the beginning of the 19th century, and it is still a perfect place to get away from it all. Here, the Nile is at its most beautiful, flowing through amber desert around small islands covered in palm groves and tropical plants. The stone quarries of ancient Egypt located here furnished the colossal statues and obelisks which are found throughout Egypt, including the pyramids.

    One of the best places for a spectacular sunset is the terrace of the Old Cataract Hotel (minimum charge of LE85). The near Elephantine Island is one of the most ancient sites in Egypt. This is probably due to its location at the first .The Great Sun Temple, Abu Simbel The Great Sun Temple, Abu Simbel .The Great Sun Temple, Abu Simbel Four colossal 20-meter statues decorate the facade of the temple. All of them represent Ramesses II, seated on a throne and wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.
    cataract of the Nile, which provided a natural boundary between Egypt and Nubia. Staying at the Old Cataract would have overstretched my budget so I went for something (a lot) cheaper: I stayed at the Keylany Hotel (LE 30 B&B) which was a bit shabby but nonetheless good value-for-money and centrally located.

    Abu Simbel lies some 280km south of Aswan, near the Sudanese border. In order to avoid the tour groups from Aswan (they visit Abu Simbel between 7.30 to 9am every day) I traveled from Aswan to Abu Simbel on the public bus (LE20) at 5pm the day before my visit. Once in Abu Simbel I followed the recommendation in my Rough Guide and stayed at the enchanting Eskaleh hotel (EUR 40 B&B), built in a traditional Nubian style and only a stone throw away from Lake Nasser. I got up before sunrise and walked to the temples where I arrived just after 6am. The ticket office was already open (LE80) and I was in front of the two temples just in time for sunrise: the four 20m high colossi (each one depicting Ramses II) of the Sun Temple of Ramses II were immersed in a
    Temple of Isis, Philae Temple of Isis, Philae
    Temple of Isis, Philae The Temple of Isis was built on an island in the Nile. It was the centre of the cult of the goddess Isis and her connection with Osiris and Horus during the Ptolemaic period

    soft orange. Inside the temple the walls are decorated with dramatic reliefs of Ramses' II campaigns. Further, there are eight lateral chambers, each one crudely cut into the rock and decorated with painted offering scenes. The nearby Hathor temple of Queen Nefertari features six colossal statues of Ramses II and Nefertari, each one nearly 10m tall. Again, there are a number of impressive reliefs inside the temple.

    I had already spent nearly 2 hours at the temples when the bus convoy arrived and the tour groups invaded the temples. By then, I had already seen everything exciting so I was happy to return to my hotel where I had breakfast on the banks of Lake Nasser. I left Abu Simbel at 9am on one of the tourist convoy buses and stopped at Philae on the way back to Aswan.
    The ancient Egyptians built a beautiful temple for the Goddess Isis on Philae island. In order to get there I bought a ticket (LE40) and boarded one of the motorboats (LE4) which landed at the southern end of the Temple of Isis, PhilaeTemple of Isis, Philae Temple of Isis, PhilaeStylish plant columns in the temple's forecourt island. It were just a few steps from the jetty to the colonnades lining both sides of the Courtyard, leading to the First Pylon of the island's main temple. In fact, the Temple of Isisis one of the greatest temples in Egypt. It occupies about a quarter of Philae island and features huge complete pylons with beautiful scenes. The construction began during the reign of King Ptolemy II around 250BC. The second pylon leads to the Hypostyle Hall which is rather small compared to some of the other temples from this period. A series of three vestibules lead to the central sanctuary and its chambers on either side have entrances to the crypts. The Isis sanctuary still contains a pedestal where the sacred barque used in the processions and festivals of the goddess would have rested.

    Kom Ombo

     The next day, I visited Kom Ombo and Edfu temple whilst travelling back from Aswan to Luxor on a minibus (LE85). The bus left Aswan at 8am as part of the daily tourist bus convoy. The first stop was at Kom Ombo, some 50km north of Aswan. Kom Ombo’s Ptolemaic Temple of Haroeris and Sobek (LE25) stands on The Great Sun Temple, Abu SimbelThe Great Sun Temple, Abu Simbel The Great Sun Temple, Abu SimbelThe statue to the left of the entrance was damaged in an earthquake in 27 BC, leaving only the lower part of the statue still intact. The head and torso can still be seen at the statue's feet. the banks of the blue waters of the river Nile. This particular temple was built as a double temple, dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile headed god, and to Haroeris, medicine god. Unfortunately much of the temple has been destroyed by the Nile, earthquakes - and by later builders who used the temple as a quarry. However, main parts of the impressive Hypostyle Hall are still intact and in fact some traces of the original paint are still visible. After having exploring the temple for approximately one hour, we met at the minibus and continued north towards Luxor.


    We stopped another 50km further down the Nile at Edfu's Horus Temple (LE40), dedicated to the falcon god Horus. Most of the temple had been buried in sand for centuries and thus preserved before it was finally excavated in the 1860s. Today Edfu is nearly intact. The hieroglyphics and reliefs on the temple walls include the myth of the struggle between Horus and Seth. It is the second largest temple in Egypt and was built in the Ptolemaic period between 237 and 57 BC. The Temple has a pylon that is considered the highest among surviving temples in Egypt today. The Great Sun Temple, Abu SimbelThe Great Sun Temple, Abu Simbel The Great Sun Temple, Abu SimbelThe walls inside the Hypostyle Hall crawl with scenes from Ramesses' II campaigns It is 36m high and decorated with typical scenes of the Pharaoh in battle with his enemies. Within the pylons is the colonnade courtyard which leads into the Hypostyle Hall. The roof of the latter is still intact, supported by 12 columns. At the end of the Temple is the sanctuary, which includes a niche of grey granite where a statue of the God is supposed to be placed. We met back at the minibus at the pre-arranged time and continued to Luxor where we arrived at 1pm, some 5 hours after we had left Aswan. The journey was twice as expensive as the train however it offered an ideal opportunity to visit the temples of Edfu and Kombo on my way back to Luxor.
    Wael Elyamani
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    writer and blogger, founder of CTV Egypt News .

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