Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spotlight on Abu Simbel

Hello Magazine

I never thought that I'd be blogging about an article on Hello magazine, or at least not on this particular blog!

Just twice a year, on February 22nd and October 22nd, the first rays of the morning sun pierce through the darkness of the Great Temple of Abu Simbel and illuminate the statues of the pharaoh Ramses II and the gods Horus and Amun-Ra; even then, the face of Ptah, "The Lord of Darkness", is left in shadow.

Dug into the rock in honour of Ramses II and his favourite wife, Nefertari, the temples of Abu Simbel, in the Nubian desert, are the high point of any tour in the land of the pharaohs.

But this amazing treasure was nearly lost due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the Sixties, a civil engineering project undertaken to tame the Nile and control its regular flooding. The dam created the vast artificial Lake Nasser and without the actions of UNESCO, working in conjunction with the Egyptian government, a huge quantity of pharaonic heritage would have disappeared under the waters of the reservoir.

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