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|Over the centuries, Aswan, Egypt’s southernmost
city, has been a garrison town and frontier city, the gateway to
Africa and the now inundated land of Nubia, a prosperous
marketplace at the crossroads of ancient caravan routes and, more
recently, a popular winter resort.
From here day trips are made to Abu
Simbel, The Temple of Philae,
and a Felucca trip down the Nile
We arrived in Aswan after a 10 hour night train from Cairo.
The romantic majestic aura surrounding the temple complex of Isi on the island of Philae has been luring pilgrims for thousands of years. During the 19th century the ruins were one of Egypt’s legendary tourist attractions. From the turn of this century, Philae and its temples became swamped for six months of every year by the high waters of the reservoir created by the construction of the old Aswan Dam. It seemed that they were destined to be lost forever and travelers took to rowboats to glide among the partly submerged columns and peer down through the translucent green to the wondrous sanctuaries of the mighty gods below.
In the 1960s, with the approaching completion of the High Dam, a rescue was organized by UNESCO. The massive complex was disassembled and removed stone by stone from Philae between 1972 and 1980. The temples were reconstructed 20m higher on nearby Aglika Island, which was even landscaped to resemble the sacred isle of Isis, in positions corresponding as closely as possible to their original layout.
Today's answer to: How did they do that?
Unfinished obelisks. This huge discarded obelisk lies on the edge of the northern granite quarries that supplied the ancient Egyptians with most of the hard stone used in pyramids and temples. There sides of the shaft, which is nearly 42 m long, were completed except for the inscriptions and it would have been the larges single piece of stone ever handled if a flaw had not appeared in the granite. So it lies there, where the disappointed stonemasons abandoned it, still partly attached to the parent rock and with no indication of what it was intended for.
Our trustee hero Bruce having a traditional meal at a local restaurant. This nice Aussie couple plucked us out of the streets to lead us to some good eats. Hopefully we'll find them as they are on a similar world tour. (email us)
|Interested in toilets around the world? You are in luck. Go to our special section of poopers to find out more than you ever thought you would want to learn on the subject. Click here|
Bruce and Julia, World Travelers and
Adventure Seekers Extraordinaire.
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Revised: 05 Feb 2007 20:21:25 -0600 .