3D Images Celebrate Egypt's Massive Abu Simbel Temples

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February 25, 2021

Abu Simbel, the famed massive rock-cut temples that moved, now exists in digital form.

Abu Simbel

A company that specializes in 3D scanning, nav-3d, created the very-high-resolution images, at the request of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

The temples of Abu Simbel are two very large sets of stone carvings created during the reign of the famous pharaoh Ramses II. In the main, the temples depict events in the Battle of Kadesh.

As the Egyptian civilization declined, so did the belief that such temples as those at Abu Simbel needed upkeep. The winds and sands buried a significant part of the temples and their great statues, and the great carvings faded into obscurity.

Abu Simbel

A Swiss explorer in the 19th Century rediscovered the great temples, and excavations followed not long after. It was in the 20th Century that the Egyptian government proposed a plan that many people questioned. In the 1960s, plans were moving forward with construction of the Aswan High Dam, on the Nile and also involving Lake Nasser. Abu Simbel was more than 150 miles away. However, government officials were concerned that the resulting rise in the water level at Lake Nasser would put Abu Simbel underwater. The government proposed to take the temples apart and move them to higher ground. During a period of four years, a large group of workers took the temples apart and moved them 40 feet up, reassembling them into a man-made mountain so as to appear that they were cut out of the rock originally. Thus, the interior of the temples extend into the mountain, in the case of the Great Temple for more than 200 feet.

Among the other projects done by the Cairo-based nav-3d are the Wahty Tomb, at Saqqara; Cairo's Gayer-Anderson Museum; and the Al-Fath Royal Masque in Abdeen.

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