THE access to this magnificent Temple was accomplished under the superintendence,  and chiefly by the active personal exertions,  of the four travellers whose names will always be associated with Aboo-Simbel, amidst difficulties, threats, privations, and excessive labour; “and continued,” says Belzoni, “during twenty-two days, besides eight days in 1816, often working eight hours a-day with the thermometer in the shade at an average of 114 º Fahrenheit.”

    As soon as the sand had been cleared away three feet from the top of the door these determined men entered, and enjoyed the reward of their labour in bringing again to human sight the finest and most extensive of the excavated Temples of Nubia, after its concealment for probably 3000 years.

    “From what we could perceive at the first view,” says Belzoni, “it was evidently a large place, but our astonishment increased when we found it to be one of the most magnificent of Temples, enriched with beautiful intaglios, paintings, colossal figures, &c. We entered at first into a large pronaos, fifty-seven feet long and fifty-two wide, supported by two rows of square pillars in a line from the front door to the door of the sekos. Each pillar has a figure not unlike those of Medinet-Aboo, finely executed and very little injured by time; the tops of their turbans reach the ceiling, which is about thirty feet high, the pillars are five feet and a half square. Both these and the walls are covered with beautiful hieroglyphics, the style of which is somewhat superior, or, at least, bolder than that of any others in Egypt, not only in the workmanship, but also in the subject. They exhibit battles, storming of castles, triumphs over the Ethiopians, sacrifices, &c. Some of the colours are much injured by the close and heated atmosphere, the temperature of  which was so hot that the thermometer must have risen to above 130º.” Beyond the pronaos are two other chambers before reaching the adytum, or sanctuary. Out of each of the central chambers of the Temple doors lead into lateral chambers; altogether eight rooms open on the grand hall. The entire length excavated, from the entrance to the adytum, Wilkinson estimates at two hundred feet; Irby and Mangles make it about a hundred and sixty, besides the colossi and the slope of the façade.

    Mr. Roberts says, “On descending into the splendid hall, over the sand which again almost reaches the top of the door, a double row is seen of colossal figures, representing Remeses the Great, attached to square pillars, which appear to support the roof; the placid expression of these statues is still finer than that of the colossi without. There are four on each side, their arms crossed on their breasts, and bearing in their hands the crook and the scourge -      emblems of government, or power; those on one side wear the high conical cap, and on the other what is called the corn-measure. The walls and pillars are covered with the most interesting sculptured representations of the victories of Remeses, painted in vivid colours and in excellent preservation; across the roof are repetitions of the sacred falcon.”

    The principal decorations of the interior are the historical subjects, relating to the conquests of Remeses II., represented in the great hall. A large tablet, containing the date of his first year, extends over great part of the north wall; another, between the two last pillars on the opposite side of this hall, of his thirty-fifth year, has been added long after the Temple was completed.



        Belzoni’s Travels.                        Roberts’s Journal.