PART II 164 “Never before had the peoples of the world been asked to work together on so grand a scale for a purely cultural purpose. But their response was as immediate as it was generous and heart-warming. Aid – material, financial and scholarly – was given with full hands. And, perhaps yet more important from the human point of view, there was the noble spirit of co-operation that revealed itself in every field. In no previous project had East and West, men of widely different races, creeds and political persuasions, co-operated from the beginning in such a task and followed it through to a successful end.” SARWAT OKASHA, MINISTER OF CULTURE OF THE UNITED ARAB REPUBLIC, AT THE CEREMONY TO MARK THE COMPLETION OF THE RESCUE OPERATION TO SAVE THE TEMPLES OF ABU SIMBEL, SEPTEMBER 22, 1968 An unprecedented challenge On September 22, 1968, the sun rising over the Nile valley cast new shadows. It was a special day for Egypt and the whole world because the work of moving the tem- ples of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel was complete. Some 3,300 years after they were built, the two works commissioned by the third pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, one of the most powerful in Egyptian history, were moved 65 meters higher and 180 meters behind their orig- inal position. It took five years’ work involving 2,000 men for a total of 40 million man-hours and the involvement of the world’s finest construction companies. A race against time to se- cure the two temples from the reservoir of water that would be filled with the construction Façade of the Great Temple: detail of one of the seated colossi of Ramesses II. !e pharaoh’s chest bears the marks le" by the discoverers of these antiquities, with their names and the date of the discovery carved between the hieroglyphs. In the rectangular niche is the image of the god Re-Horakhty, carved frontally in high relief with his hawk’s head surmounted by the solar disk. To the sides of the legs there are two hieroglyphs representing the dog-headed User staff and Maat, the goddess of justice.