The Ramesseum, one of the smaller temples in the Nile Valley of Egypt, is fairly innocuous as far as Egyptian antiquities go. Don’t get me wrong; it would be considered remarkable in most other places in the world, but Egypt has such a wealth of ancient art and architecture that any of the smaller, less preserved sites generally get a pass from tourists.
I was intrigued by this temple after reading Shelley’s Ozymandias, which he wrote as a tourist himself, based on what he saw here. The now-toppled statue of Ramses II (which I am standing next to in the first photo to give scale) originally stood at an impressive height of over 57 feet. Once a pharaoh who was considered a god, the monument Ramses II built to celebrate his own glory is now lying in the dust, topped with a fine coating of desert sand. The pharaoh is dead and his temple in ruins, but the poem lives. For now.