How much would you love to have dinner at Abu Simbel?
Ramesses II (the Great) was one of the most prolific builders of ancient Egypt. Many of the greatest monuments on any tour of Egypt bear his stamp: Karnak and Luxor Temples, Abydos, Per-Ramesses in the Delta, the Ramesseum (his royal worship temple), and Abu Simbel.
While a number of his famous statues are likely to have been usurped from Amenhotep III (for example, the fallen colossus at the Ramesseum and the large granite statues in the Peristyle Courtyard at Luxor Temple), we can confidently say that Abu Simbel is all Ramesses.
It was built well beyond Egypt's traditional southern border, deep in Nubian territory, as a means of both glorifying the living god, and flexing his earthly influence over the people of Nubia—and the country's supplies of gold and copper.
One imagines that the Nubian princes that swept northwards some 500 years later would have paused at Abu Simbel and smiled; Egypt's glory was about to be theirs.