If you know me, you’ll know I’m all about natural places…I love all natural things, from forests to mountains to deserts and beaches…I just have a thing for nature. I do love cities too (IF and ONLY they have a good positive vibe). One place, however, changed my mind about “semi-natural” places. I don’t know how to describe it except by Artificial Beauty…It is classified as one of the biggest man-made lakes in the world, Lake Nasser is about 550 Km long and 35 Km wide. And it is beautiful!
I have always seen the famous picture of Abu Simbel, showing it right on the shores of Lake Nasser..I just never expected that the Lake is THAT breathtaking. Lake Nasser was created by the construction of the High Dam in Southern Aswan, Egypt, 1960s. It had many downsides, like displacing most of the Egyptian Nubian communities, sparing only a few villages that were, luckily, north of the High Dam, like Heisa Island.
Another dramatic thing that happened was the drowning of several ancient ruins were flooded, which sparked the international communities, and the UNESCO, to come to the rescue. Many were saved, like Abu Simbel, but also many were lost under the waters.
Now to describe that Artificial Beauty…Two words: BEAUTIFULLY PANORAMIC.
I have never seen the Nile so blue. I have never seen waves in the Nile! My vision of the Nile, based on how I always see it in Cairo, was that dark watered, muddy looking, water stream. Lake Nasser totally changed this view! It looked clear-ish, it looked light, and it looked vast!
From where I was, with Abu Simbel temples (Ramesses II and Nefertari) in the background, I think Ancient Ambience is the right word. Or maybe Surreal.
The only uncomfortable part about getting to this spot was having to be on a 3 hours bus in excruciating heat each way. But hey, who said getting to heavenly places was easy? Also, if you’ve got some extra cash to spare, Abu Simbel has it’s own mini airport.
Next time I’m in Aswan, I will definitely visit Abu Simbel again. It is well worth it. And if I have a bit of extra money? I am taking one of those Nile Cruise ships that operate south of the High Dam rather than the well famous ones, Luxor-Aswan, cruises.
Update: This post was ready for publishing in December 2016. In 2017, I went to Aswan again (and to Luxor! more on that later). I did go again to Abu Simbel as promised. Here are a few of my favourite images from my latest visit!
I will be writing a couple of more posts about Aswan and Nubia, and about Luxor, a place that quickly made me change my mind!! Have you been to Abu Simbel? Did you see how breathtaking Lake Nasser is?