Essential Architecture-  Egypt

Temple of Nefertari / Hathor




Abu Simbel


c. 1275-1225 BC Dynasty XIX


Ancient Egyptian




The Great Temple of Ramses II (left) and the Temple of Hathor/Nefertari (right)
The smaller temple is dedicated to Ramses II's wife, Nefertari. Although she was not his sole wife, she was the best beloved. In addition, she is represented on the facade of this temple as large as her husband--a clear indication of her status.

The sloping facade has three recessed areas on each side of a central doorway, flanked by two large statues of Ramses. Nefertari is shown as Hathor with the horns of the sacred cow, the solar disk and two plumes.

The six statues are about 10 meters high. All have the left legs forward. Statues of the children of the royal couple are also shown--the princesses by Nefertari and the princes by Ramses.

The interior has an almost square pronaos with six Hathor pillars in two rows. Stories of Nefertari and Ramses are engraved under the head of the goddess.

The walls are decorated with scenes of offering as well as the massacre of prisoners by Ramses, the warrior pharaoh.

With special thanks to the Digital Imaging Project
Images copyright Mary Ann Sullivan.