National Geographic : 1965 May
Ramesses II. Carved from the face of a sheer cliff, the awesome figures are seated beside the entrance to the cavernous temple behind them (above). Ramesses clearly had his impression on posterity in mind when he built his gigantic memorial. For a time, the High Dam and the rising Nile threatened to upset his plans, but now Pharaoh's immortality is secure. Thanks to donations from many countries, much of Abu Simbel will be preserved for the world's benefit by lifting it above high water. Elec tric drilling and sawing by the West German firm of Hochtief will cut the massive figures into manageable-but still tremendous pieces. In six or seven years, the four Rames seses will again command the Nile. From Yankee's decks, we gazed up in awe at the facade of the four colossi, the statues of Pharaoh's family at his knees, and the Drop landing at Abu Simbel: Irving Johnson sails Yankee straight to the sandy shore, swings Donna Grosvenor off the bow. "I didn't even get my sneakers wet," she said. These gigantic statues of Ramesses II have gazed on the sights of the Nile for 3,200 years. To save them from drowning, an in ternational team of engineers directs cutting the monuments of Ramesses and his queen Nefertari (page 635) into 30-ton blocks for reassembly on the plateau 225 feet above. At the feet of the Pharaoh, Ted Zacher marvels at the grandly executed statues of Ramesses II lining the south side of the great Hypostyle Hall at Abu Simbel. Wear ing the White Crown of Upper Egypt, the figures rise 30 feet. In the foreground a figure of the god of the horizon, Re-Harakhti, strides across the wall.