El Derr Temple
The Temple of Derr or El Derr is a speos or rock-cut Egyptian temple built by pharaoh Ramses II in Lower Nubia. It is the only rock-cut temple in Nubia which was constructed by this pharaoh on the right (or east) bank of the Nile and used to stand at el-Derr. The temple’s unique position was probably because the river on its approach to the Korosko bend flows in an unnatural’ southeasterly direction. The Derr structure was known in ancient times as The Temple of Ri’amsese-meryamun [Ramses II] in the Domain of Re and was dedicated to the god Ra-Horakhty. Scholars disagree over its precise construction date: the French Egyptologist Nicolas Grimal states that it was built in the thirteenth year of Ramses II, presumably to coincide with his first royal jubilee. In contrast, John Baines wrote that the temple of Derr was built in the second half of the king’s reign, likely because its plan and decoration resembles the Great Temple of Abu Simbel (minus the colossal seated statues against the facade). Abu Simbel was built between Year 24 and Year 31 of Ramses’ reign. According to Joyce Tyldesley, the Temple of Derr was built by Setau, who is known to have served as Ramses’ Viceroy of Kush or Nubia between Year 38 to 63 of this pharaoh’s reign. The temple of Derr is more elaborate than the speos of Beit el-Wali and consisted of a sequence of two hypostyle halls (probably preceded by a forecourt and a pylon) leading to a triple sanctuary where a cult of statues of Ramses II, Amon-Re, Ra-Horakhty and Ptah was celebrated. When cleaned and restored in modern times, Derr proved to contain unusually bright and vivid relief decorations which contrasted sharply with the more subdued color tones from other Egyptian Temples.