One of the major constructions of the pharaohs are the temles of Abu Simbel. They are impressive for two reasons: their artistical value, and the fact that they had to be moved 64 meters higher up, in order to keep them from becoming submerged, when the Aswan High Dam first closed its gates and the water began rising.
64 meters below that cruise ship is the original location of the temples. In order to make such a move possible, the temples were cut up in blocks like a giant jigsaw and put together again, now in a concrete dome which was covered with dirt to make it look perfectly natural.
Abu Simbel was constructed by Ramses II, who built the major part of all the temples found today, at Egypt's border with Nubia (Sudan). One feature of the statues is particularly interesting in this respect - Ramses' hands are not shown in the typical power demonstrating pose, with the hands closed and thumb forward, but with his hands laying open, palms down, on his legs. This way he told the Nubians that he meant them no harm.
The large temple - the one we usually connect with Abu Simbel - has not gone through time without its marks. Although it did not have Marmelukes do canon practice on it, like the Sfinx of Gaza (the sphinx' nose to be precise), one of the statues has lost its upper body.
Ramses II had a favorite wife - Nefertari. (Not Nefertiti, she was earlier, the queen of Amenhotep IV, a.k.a. Akhenaten.) He dedicated the smaller of the two temples to her. The fact that there are four statues of Ramses II and just two of Nefertari, squeezed in between them, is explained thus: through this setup Ramses II demonstrates to the World that he cares for his queen and wants to protect her. This is the only temple that has a queen on its front, which also demonstrates Ramses' love and respect for his wife.
Just to the right of the large temple you can enter the hill through an anonymous door, and suddenly be inside and witness how the whole temple is actually encased in a giant concrete dome. The entire salvage process of the temples is documented on posters, located on a platform inside.