Some of the most iconic symbols of ancient Egypt are the pyramids, the Avenue of the Sphinxes at Luxor, King Tutankhamen, and the two temples at Abu Simbel. The two temples are the larger Temple of Ramesses II and the smaller Temple of Nefertari, carved out of rock. As with all history, there’s a great story behind these temples! Built on the Nile by Pharaoh Ramesses II (1301-1213 BC) for himself and his queen, the larger temple features colossal statues of Ramesses in a seated position. The doorway to this temple is lined up such that on two days of the year – February 22 and October 22 – the sun shines all the way to the back, to a statue of Ramesses II. The smaller temple, Nefertari’s Temple of Hathor, is flanked by two large statues of Nefertari (Ramesses’ wife) and two of Ramesses. The temples were forgotten by about the 6th century BCE and buried in the shifting sands until 1813, when Jean-Louis Burckhardt found the top frieze; in 1817, Giovanni Belzoni was able to dig out and enter the complex. Stories say that the complex is named Abu Simbel after a young guide who helped Belzoni with the dig.
Everything changed in 1968. The temples were moved (!) when the Nile was dammed up to create Lake Nasser, courtesy of the Aswan High Dam. The moving of the temples to an artificially created hill 200 feet higher was done in collaboration by the Egyptian government and UNESCO.
Moving the Temples took almost 5 years, and cost about $42 million dollars! The project involved over 3,000 workers. Check out these awesome videos (long video or short video) on the move. Can you imagine moving such an ancient and important monument? There is no room for error! Discuss some of the problems the engineers may have encountered.
Check out this 360 panorama of the Abu Simbel Great Temple. What surprised you about seeing this ancient monument (and very close lake)?
Have some extra fun on your trip and earn cash!
We’re holding our annual photography contest and you’re invited to participate! This year we’re focusing on a type of photography called “forced perspective,” and you can get really creative with it: Make your photos hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or pinch the top of the Eiffel Tower—get creative! See some fun examples of forced perspective photography at: http://ow.ly/tlXnU
You could win $500 for college, travel or something else awesome.
Here’s how it works: We’ll choose our five favorite photos and feature them on our blog.
(We choose our faves based on creativity, so make us feel inspired!) Our followers then vote to determine the winner.
Entries are due by Friday, May 2nd, 2014 at 5pm
Our five favorites will be featured on the blog Wednesday, May 7th
One entry per student
You must have traveled between Jan 1st – May 1st, 2014
Hi, I'm Julia! I don't get to travel as much as I want to (who does?), but when I do, my goal is to share my discoveries and insights with humor and enthusiasm on all of our social media avenues. On The Educated Traveler blog, the official blog of WorldStrides International Discovery programs, you'll find all kinds of great information about travel and education, tips, news, classroom lesson ideas and more! Subscribe above!