The two temples of Abu Simbel date back to the reign of King Ramses II (1279-1212 BC). They were carved out of a high sand stone plateau, 4km. of their current location in which they were translocated by the International campaign the Nubian to save the monuments of Nubia after constructing the High Dam in 1960.
The Abu Simbel site includes two temples; the Great Temple of Abu Simbel that was dedicated to the gods, Ra-Horakhty, Amun-Ra and the King himself and the Small Temple which lies 100m. from the previous one and was dedicated to goddess Hathor and Queen Nefertary, the chief wife of the King.
The Temple was named after a little local boy "Abu Simble" who guided the Swiss orientalist Johann Ludwig Burchardt who is also known as Jean-Louis Burckhardt to discover the site in 1813.
The importance of the Great Abu Simbel Temple lies in its connection of the solar alignment phenomenon over the face of Ramses' statue twice a year; the first time coincides with the King's birth date 22nd of October and the second time coincides with the anniversary of his coronation 22nd of February. The temple is characterized by its distinguished architectural design; the façade was sculptured into the rock and was decorated with four colossal statues of Ramses II reaching about 20m. long each. Following the façade, there is a corridor leading to the inside of the rock cut Temple with a depth of 48m. and whose walls were decorated with scenes depicting the victories of the King over his enemies and his conquests, such as the battle of Qadesh in which the Hittites were defeated. Other religious scenes depict the King with a variety of Egyptian gods. The Small Temple on the other hand, was gifted by the King to Queen Nefertary, his chief wife and beloved. Its façade was decorated with six colossi equal in size representing the King and Queen which shows the high status of this Queen. The Temple extends to the inside of the plateau at a depth of 24 m. and its interior walls were adorned with a series of magnificent scenes depicting the Queen worshiping the various gods either with the King or alone.