Ramesses the Great vs King Tut

After cruising down the Nile with our tour group, my mother and I paid extra to fly to Nubia (a village in Southern Egypt that borders the Sudan) to see the magnificent temples of Abu Simbel and it was so worth it! Upon first sight, my eyes popped and my mouth dropped open. The sheer size, engineering, and beauty made it an amazing sight to behold. Like the pyramids, I marveled at how it was constructed. Egypt Aisha Niang_00039A

The Abu Simbel temples were originally carved out of a mountainside during the reign of pharaoh Ramesses II. Who is Ramesses II, aka Ramesses the Great, some of you may ask? He is only the most regarded, powerful, and celebrated pharaoh of Egypt. So why is it that most have not heard of him while King Tut, a spec in pharaonic history, is so revered? Well the boy king, aka King Tutankhamun (Tut) stepped onto the throne at age 9 and lived only until he was 19 years old. He was buried in the Valley of the Kings and his tomb was found basically intact in 1922 making the find one of the most exciting moments in Egyptian archaeology. It is really the discovery of his tomb that makes King Tut famous, not what he did under his reign. So this begs to question, who the heck is Ramesses II?

Ramesses the Great ruled Egypt from 1279 BC to 1213 BC and is estimated to have died around the age of 91. In entertainment, Ramesses II is one of the most popular candidates for the Pharaoh of the Exodus, but there isn’t any documentation or archaeological evidence to support this. Cue the American spiritual ‘Go Down Moses’ – “Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt’s land… Tell old pharaoh let my people go”. Ramesses the Great built extensively throughout Egypt and Nubia and is responsible for the formation of one of my favorite Egyptian monuments, the Great Temples of Abu Simbel. Egypt Aisha Niang_00041AThe two temples were constructed (one for him and one for his queen, Nefertari) to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. In yet another amazing engineering feat, both monument complexes were relocated to an artificial hill above the Aswan High Dam near the Nile River. A massive reservoir named Lake Nasser was formed post-construction and had the temples not been moved they would have been submerged under water during its creation. The Great Temple of Abu Simbel took almost 20 years to construct and was dedicated to the main gods Amun, Ra-Horakhty, and Ptah, and in ancient Egyptian fashion, to deified Ramesses himself. It is believed that the axis of the temple was placed in such a way that on October 22nd and February 22nd the rays of the sun would penetrate the sanctuary and illuminate all of the sculptures on the back wall except for the one of Ptah, who was the god connected to the Underworld and who always remained in the dark. Egypt Aisha Niang_00036AThose dates are allegedly Ramesses’s birthday and coronation day respectively, but there is no evidence to support this theory.

This was a magnificent part of my trip to Egypt and I would recommend visiting Abu Simbel to all who are willing and able to visit this great country. You’ll never see anything like it anywhere else in the world! Chat with me below and offer your thoughts on this stunning monument.

Egypt Aisha Niang_00038A

Facts

  • Abu Simbel is the fictional field headquarters of M16 in the James Bond film ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.
  • The temple is the cover illustration for the Earth, Wind & Fire ‘All In All’ album.
  • Ramesses the Great, one of Egypt’s greatest pharaohs, reigned for 67 years, had nearly 200 wives, 96 sons, and 60 daughters. He died around 96 years of age and Egypt fell into a steady decline following his death. His 3,000 year old mummy is on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Tips

  • Drink plenty of water; I made the grave mistake of going to Egypt in August and it was over 110 degrees in the shade.
  • If you are female, bring a few scarfs in case you want to enter a mosque – one for your head and one to cover your shoulders and upper body if you are showing too much skin.
  • Haggle away! They have different prices for people from different countries.
  • Research the cost for your itinerary.  Some people may charge you to enter places that are actually free to visit.

TRAVEL MEMORIES

WeMontage  This company proclaims to be “the world’s only website that lets you turn your photos into a large collage on removable wallpaper”! You just upload your pictures, make your collage and they will print and send it you. Put it up, take it down, move it around. I think this is a great way to capture and display your vacation photos or special moments in time. Martha Stewart even called it “A décor idea every home owner should know”. Check them out, it’s a good thing. Click here (WeMontage) to start your very own collage on removable wallpaper.

baby

32 comments

  • Love all the detailed information here. I didn’t realize he had so many wives and children. Busy man. I haven’t made it to Egypt yet, but it is on my list!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Egypt seems so far away but I have always been fascinated by it. I just think the great pyramid is the greatest manmade structure in the world.

    I’ve watched a documentary before about King Tut before, about how he looks different in real life than on how he is depicted on movies. It’s amazing how they’re able to maintain those great structures in Egypt to this day, I hope to see them in the flesh for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It always amazes me how the media depicts ancient Egyptians and how far from the truth that depiction is. I am still in awe at all of the monuments and tombs I entered. Truly amazing. I hope you make it there one day.

      Like

  • I like when people take a popular but canonical tourist place, and inform the world of other options to explore around there. Great job, and good for you for seeking out such a place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I cannot take the credit for this one. My mom suggested it and I jumped all over it. Now anytime someone says they are going to Egypt, I tell them that this is a must do.

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  • Egypt and the intriguing history of Egypt have always amazed me. I am a history buff love anything related to Archeology and History. It was a great read for me. I have seen a documentary on Abu Sibal and about Ramses. I could appreciate this article very much because of that. Thank you for introducing wemontage. I have book marked it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Being an archeology and history buff, I can only imagine how intriguing Egypt’s history is to you. I have always had a strong fascination with ancient Egypt. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you like WeMontage!

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  • I;ve never been to Egypt, but going to other places in Africa has taught me the art of haggling. Scarf is a great tip! I love how informative this post is too. Very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I haven’t had the chance to get to Egypt yet but I love this recommendation. You also provided some terrific travel tips to go along with the trip. I’m running off to try WeMontage right now!

    Liked by 1 person

  • I’m ashamed to say that I never seen a single historical site when I went to Egypt- I went on an all inclusive trip to Sharm El Sheikh a few years ago. My travel style has definitely changed since then! Would love to go back and check out places like this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow. I think you are the first person I know of that didn’t see a historical site while there. Where you able to see a bit of the country?

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  • Isn’t it just amazing all the architectural feats the Egyptians accomplished? I’m just in awe at all the landmarks and sites they’ve contributed to the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Abu Simbel looks so beautiful! the sculptures carved into the rock are just incredible! I’m also really used to haggling and can well believe there are different prices for people from different countries!

    Liked by 1 person

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