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Nefertari's Small Temple

Abu Simbel Temples - Temples - Buildings - Builders & Buildings

The Temple of Great Royal Wife Nefertari


“A Temple of Great and Mighty Monuments, for the Great Royal Wife Nefertari Meryetmut,
for whose sake the very sun does shine, given life and beloved”

Only the 2nd Temple in Egypt that was ever dedicated to a Great Royal Wife, and the only one which remains today.

 The whole temple, interior and exterior were hewn out of the Rock.The Facade has four 10 meter Statues of Pharaoh Ramses and Nefertari which is highly unusual as Pharaoh was always projected as larger and higher than his consort.

Depicted as the same height shows unprecedented respect and honouring of Ramses towards his Great  Royal Wife.

This gives countenance to the theory that Ramses and Nefertari married for love before Ramses became Pharaoh and took on the Throne. 

The Facade

The statues in between the legs of Ramses II and Nefertari are those of the Princes and Princesses. 

On the South side these are Prince Meryatum; Prince Meryre; Princess Meritamen; Princess Henuttawy; Prince Rahirwenemef; Prince Amunherkhepeshef. 

The North Side has the same figures in the reverse order.

Layout of the Temple 

The Hall

The Hypostyle Hall is graced with 6 Hathor headed Pillars depicting Nefertari playing the Sistrum with the Goddesses:

  • Hathor, Goddess of love & music, protector of women
    and who the Temple is dedicated to
  • Isis, Goddess of Life and Magic
  • Maat, Goddess of Truth and Justice
  • Mut, Goddess of the sky and queen of the god and goddesses
  • Satis, Goddess of Archery
  • Taweret, Goddess of Childbirth

And the Gods:

Horus, God of the Sky and Protector of the Pharaoh and Khnum, God of the Nile and Khonsu, God of the Moon and Thoth, God of Wisdom

Bas Reliefs

Many of the Reliefs show Nefertari making offerings to Goddess Hathor, to whom the Temple is dedicated. Again, some of the reliefs on the surrounding walls portray Pharaoh Ramses II defeating his enemies in Libya, Nubia and famously at Kadesh.

The next intersecting Hallway is accessed via three large doors. The walls are covered with Bas reliefs showing Nefertari and Ramses giving Papyrus Plants to the Goddess Hathor who is shown in her animal form as a cow sailing on a boat. 

To the left they are depicted with the God Horus and the divinities of the Nile Cataracts; Satis, Anubis and Khnum, where they make offerings to them.

Last is the Inner Sanctuary of the Temple which is inline with the axis of the Temple and shows scenes of The Goddesses Isis and Hathor, blessing Nefertari together