During the annual Sun Festival at Abu Simbel an opening ceremony of a new Abu Simbel Salvage Documentation Center was held. On this occasion, the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw presented this institution with photographs commemorating the participation of Professor Kazimierz Michałowski in the salvage project.
Prof. Michałowski, nestor of Polish Mediterranean archaeology and the founder of the PCMA, presided over a UNESCO committee overseeing the rescue project undertaken during the building of the Great Dam in Aswan in the 1960s. The objective was to protect ancient monuments, including the monumental temple of Ramses II in Abu Simbel, from flooding. A Polish team has also submitted a project for the protection of the temples in situ, but a decision was made to dismantle the building by cutting it into blocks and to reassemble it at a higher ground.
In the newly opened Abu Simbel Salvage Documentation Center, work on this epic rescue operation is presented in an exhibition. The Center’s archives gather documentation associated with this project. — It is so important to tell people visiting the site how the temples were moved to save them from the deluge — comments Hosam Aboud el-Din, director of the Abu Simbel archaeological site. The Sun Festival takes place every year on the 21st of February, when a ray of light reaches the inner chamber of the temple and touches upon the faces of the statues of Ramses, Ra and Amon.