Egypt Cruises - Temple of Philae

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The Aswan High Dam

The Aswan High Dam

Egypt Holidays - Aswan High Dam

Just upriver from the First Cataract on the Nile, the British built a dam at the end of the 19th century but by 1952 it was apparent that this structure could not satisfy the country's needs nor guarantee security from famine.  The new High Dam was thus built in the 1960s with help from the Soviet Union, resulting in the creation of Lake Nasser and the flooding of a huge part of Nubia, an area which included many ancient temples and tombs from Pharaonic times.  The major ones (such as Abu Simbel and Philae) were rescued from the rising waters and reconstructed elsewhere, but many disappeared for ever.

The scale of the High Dam is breathtaking - 111 metres high, 3,830 metres long, 980 metres wide at the base and 40 metres wide at the top - and it has been calculated that its overall volume is 17 times that of the Great Pyramid at Giza.  The Soviet-Egyptian Memorial, a giant lotus-blossom tower (see picture), is the dam's most recognisable structure.