The construction of the huge earth and rock Dam, at 1km deep, would take 40 million tons of rock forming a massive artificial mountain and would create one of the largest reservoirs in the world.
Over 3000 years ago, Rameses II built the magnificent temples, 280km south of Aswan. Carved out of the rock face, the temple of Abu Simbel has a fašade over 100ft high. Dedicated to the sun god Amun-Ra, the temple goes back into the hillside a distance of almost 200ft. Queen Nefertari's temple next door, though smaller in stature, is dedicated to the goddess Hathor.
Abu Simbel's orientation was calculated so that on the 21st October and 19th February, the rising sun falls on the statues in the inner shrines.
The curator of Egyptian Antiquities at the Louvre in Paris, Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, was given the task by UNESCO of setting up an organization called CERDAE.
(Centre for Research and Documentation on Ancient Egypt.)
First they had to set up an inventory of all the archaeological sites threatened by the Dam. Secondly, they had to try and save them.
On March 8th1960, Christiane and the Egyptian Minister for Culture, Sarwat Okasha, called for international support on behalf of UNESCO.
Between 1960 and 1965, a wealth of information was collected. A total of 14 monuments and temples would have to be dismantled, moved and then rebuilt on new sites above the level of the new lake.
Spain, Italy, Netherlands and the USA were each given one of the smaller temples as recognition for their help.
The response to the appeal was overwhelming, with 50 countries offering financial as well as technical aid.
So now the real work could be done.
One Part Of The God To Go On, One To Go Back!!