The Aswan Dam was a massive project to control the waters of the Nile. Yet even now, 29 years after the Dam opened, it still continues to divide opinion.
Was it successful in it's purpose?
Was it worth flooding hundreds of villages and several ancient monuments under 157 billion cubic meters of water?
Over these next few pages, I want to show the massive scale of the operation not only to build the Dam, but also to move the 2 magnificent temples dedicated to Rameses II and his Queen, Nefertari.
In all, fourteen temples were dismantled, moved and rebuilt, stone by stone.
The first Aswan Dam was designed by Sir William Willcocks, Director General of reservoirs, in 1902, and held 1 billion cubic meters of water. When it was realized that the capacity was too small, it was raised a further 2 times. Once in 1902, the second in 1934.
In 1954 the Egyptian government decided to build a new Dam. Unfortunately Britain and America wanted no part of it due to Egypt's non-alignment policy. When the world bank pulled out 2 years later, President Nasser nationalized the Suez canal and turned to Russia for assistance.
The project began in 1960, being completed 4 years later.
The Aswan high Dam was brought into service in 1970 and had it's official opening 6 months later.
The Dam is 111m high and 3.6km long. The reservoir , Lake Nasser, is 50km long, 10 and 30km wide, and 90m deep. Enough material was excavated to make 17 Great Pyramids.
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