Greetings. It’s Friday, my favourite day of the week! And as we approach the beginning of autumn here in New York City, we’ve been enjoying spectacular weather. I hope it’s nice where you are, too.
Today we have a new weekly photo. Our latest featured image comes from Abu Simbel in the southern part of Egypt. In that town you can find a pair of temples. Here’s a glimpse at the façade of the larger of the two, known as the Great Temple:
The two temples at the site were constructed in the 13th century B.C. under the direction of the pharaoh Ramses II, also known as Ramses the great; four statues of him sit in front of the façade. Each of the statues is some 66 feet in height.
The temples were originally built on the shore of the Nile; but after standing there for over 3,000 years, they had to be moved when the Aswan High Dam was built in the 1960s, in order to avoid being submerged. (The construction of the dam resulted in the creation of Lake Nasser, the largest man-made lake in the world, which inundated the area where the temples had stood). The temples were broken down into blocks and reassembled on higher ground; the relocation, a truly amazing feat of engineering, took about four years.
This photo was taken during my visit to Egypt in September 2012. At that time — 19 months after the revolution that deposed President Hosni Mubarak — conditions in Egypt were relatively stable, and it was safe for tourists such as me to visit most areas of the country. But in July 2013, Mubarak’s democratically elected successor, Mohamed Morsi, was himself ousted, and much turmoil and strife have ensued. For the sake of the Egyptian people — a people that I found to be friendly and hospitable — I hope that peace and stability will soon return to their land.