Often referred to as the Temples of Ramses II, the two enormous sandstone structures at Abu Simbel were built in 1255 BC by Ramses II to commemorate himself and his favorite wife Nefertiti. The larger temple, dedicated to three major Egyptian deities, features four large statues of Ramses II on its facade, while the smaller temple is dedicated to the love goddess Hathor, with statues designed to embody Nefertari.
Set on the banks of the artificial Lake Nasser, the structures were once in danger of being flooded with the construction of the Aswan High Dam but were saved via an extensive project to cut the temples into pieces and move them to higher ground, where they are seen today.
Both Temples of Ramses II are open to the public and together form one of the greatest tourist attractions in Egypt as half of UNESCO's Nubian Monuments World Heritage site. An impressive light and sound show takes place daily.
The temples lie about 180 miles (290 km), or a three-hour drive, southwest of Aswan. The best way to visit is via an organized tour from the city. It is also possible to arrive via plane from either Cairo or Aswan (30 minutes).