It is a relatively strange construction within Egyptian architecture. It was built in Nubia, south of the pharaonic domains, and was made through excavations in the rock.
This is a memorial temple promoted by Pharaoh Ramses II, who had an extremely long reign during the period of the New Empire. And with him came nine jubilee ceremonies. And during the first of these jubilees Abu Simbel. was built
These periodic celebrations consisted of commemorating the symbolic death of the pharaoh, the end of a phase of his reign and the beginning of a new period, with which mention was made of his ability to renew himself and govern the country well, renewing the energies of the ruler and his ruled. In this way, taking into account the long reign of Ramesses II, several temples with this construction motif have come down to us. Although, the most famous and spectacular of all of them is that of Abu Simbel.
Many astronomical factors were taken into account for its construction. In fact, it was taken into account that on the two equinoxes of the year, at sunrise, the first rays penetrated the longitudinal axis of the temple and served to illuminate a huge sculpture of Ramses II.
The original temple would have an area in contact with the Nile River, and would have its own jetty. From it comesto an esplanade where the most famous of the temple of Abu Simbel is discovered: its façade carved into the rock. There you can see four colossi over twenty meters high that represent the seated pharaoh, in whose representation the false beard, a symbol of roy alty, cannot be missing. And at the feet of the colossi and on their sides you can see other smaller figures that would be the relatives of the pharaoh.
And in the center a door opens on which the god Horus is represented, with his falcon head and the sun disk above them. This door gives way and communicates with the first hypostyle hall with pillars on the sides, which in front has the sphinx of the pharaoh himself. Here you can see different images of various royal objects and also scenes of an Osiriac nature, in which inert bodies are seen and wrapped in a cloth, which links the temple with Egyptian funerary rites. And on the roof and on the quadrangular pillars there are inscribed motifs that represent the battle of Kadesh, just as it happens in other temples of the time such as those of Karnak, Luxor or Agydos.
After this, the complex continues with a new hypostyle hall and several chapels where again large sculptures can be seen, in this case of Ramses II, of Amon and ofPath. With this allusion to regeneration. As usual in Egyptian architecture, as you go inside the temples, the spaces get smaller and smaller, even more so here considering the monumentality of the façade. And it is that the mostimportant was the impression that the building made from the beginning.