National Geographic : 1965 May
Racing time, archeologists try to unravel the mysteries of Gebel Adda before the inundation. Aga Khan III, Imam of the Ismaili Commun ity, a Moslem sect. At his death, she supervised construction of the stately mausoleum that stands high above her winter home (pages 616-17). Each morning, we had been told, she climbs the hill and places a single red rose at her husband's shrine. Begum Performs Navigation Feat Time passed delightfully on the terrace, but finally darkness fell. "May we stay at anchor where we are?" Irving asked the Begum. "Of course," she answered, "but if you want to get back to Aswan tonight, I will pilot you. I have been through the Cataract many times at night, and I know every rock." Soon afterward Irving was at the wheel, following orders delivered with a charming French accent. Yankee's volunteer pilot did a perfect job, and we reached our anchorage without trouble. 624 Next morning the chief Egyptian engineer for the Aswan High Dam gave us some con struction figures. "We are now building the rock-and-earth base for the dam," he said. "This project requires moving 54,400,000 cu bic yards of material, and the finished dam will stretch 11,811 feet-more than two miles -a cross the river, and rise to a height of 364 feet above the riverbed. During the eight years from the start of construction to com pletion of the dam-the base, the actual dam above it, and all-men working in three shifts around the clock will have put in more unin terrupted man-hours on a single project than ever before in history." "It sounds like a Pharaoh's order for a pyr amid," I remarked, and our host smiled. "Quite right. Our High Dam may not be the intricate job of fitting stone that the pyr amids were, but in volume it will be 17 times the size of the largest one."