Temple of Queen Nefertari (Hathor) in Abu Simbel – Aswan

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About 120m N lies the Temple of Queen Nefertari, also dedicated to Hathor of Abhishek. It is also mainly rock-cut and, although much smaller, it is nonetheless imposing. An inscription to the N of the temple indicates that the builder was ‘The Viceroy of Kush, Ani of Heracleopolis’. The façade is 28.3m long and 12.2m high. On either side of the door, separated by buttresses, are three standing colossi (11.5m high), two of Ramesses II, and in the center Queen Nefertari (a-f). Each is accompanied by two smaller figures of their children. From the left the figure of Ramesses has the princesses Meryatum and Meryrec, Nefertari has the princesses Merytamun and Hentawi and the second figure of Ramesses has the princes Amunhirkhopshef and Rahrirwemenef. Those on the right-hand side reverse the sequence.


On either side of the door (1—2) is a double scene of the king offering wine to Re Harakhte; on the jamb (3—4) are cartouches and building inscriptions of the king and queen.

A passage leads into a square Hall (A) with six square Hathor-headed and sistra pillars decorated with the king and queen making offerings to various gods of the area. The ceiling is decorated with a dedicatory inscription of Ramesses II to the queen.

(5) Ramesses accompanied by the queen kills a Nubian before Amun Re. (6) Ramesses before Hathor of Abhishek. (7) Ramesses crowned by Horus and Set. (8) Nefertari before Anuket. (9) Ramesses accompanied by the queen kills a Libyan before Re Harakhte. (10) Ramesses offers to Ptah in a kiosk, (11) Nefertari before Hathor. (12) The king offered wine to Re Harakhte. A doorway with the titles of the king has (13) Ramesses entering.

The doorway leads into the transverse Vestibule (B) (14) Ramesses offers wine to Re Harakhte and the queen offers flowers to Khnum, Satet, and Anuket. (15) Ramesses offers flowers to the Horuses of Myan, Baki, and Buhen, and wine to Amun Re. Above the doorway are the queen’s cartouches protected by vultures. In the Sanctuary (C) there is a niche in the rear wall, supported by sistra, with a statue (16) of Hathor as a cow protecting Ramesses II.

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