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Colossal Statue of Ramesses II at Abu-Simbel

Maxime du Camp, c. 1850


Abu Simbel, located in the desert of southern Egypt 40 km north of the border with Sudan, is almost as remote and difficult to reach today as it was in Camp's time. The only attraction in the region are the ancient temples. To get there, one either must fly to the small, local airport, take a cruise from Aswan, or travel via convoy from Aswan (3 hours). Foreigners are not allowed to travel alone via car for security reasons.

The Great Temple of Ramses II was built around 1250 BCE. It was 'lost' until its rediscovery by Jean Louis Burkhart in 1813. In the 1960s, the rising water level of Lake Nasser resulting from the construction of the Aswan Dam threatened the Great Temple of Ramses II, which was dismantled and reassembled on higher ground. 

Abu Simbel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

About the Artist

Born: Paris, 8 February 1822
Died: , 9 February 1894
Nationality: French