CAIRO: Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said Wednesday the ministry will launch a comprehensive plan to restore Nubian temples located on the two banks of Lake Nasser south of Aswan.
Damaty’s announcement came after his meeting with prominent Nubian figures at the Antiquities Ministry headquarters Wednesday.
“The move complies with the ministry’s strategy to restore, develop and open new archaeological sites for the public in order to attract more tourists and promote Egypt’s tourism sector,” Damaty said on the Antiquities Ministry’s Facebook page.
During the meeting, Damaty said Nubian heritage “can’t be overlooked” and asserted the significance of the Nubians and their contributions to Egyptian civilization. Nubia is a region along the Nile River located in northern Sudan and southern Egypt, and despite Damaty’s words, the central government’s treatment of the Nubians has at times been less than praiseful.
“Over 150,000 Nubians were re-housed further to the north of Aswan during the construction of the High Dam in the 1960s,” archaeologist Ahmed Saleh, general director of Saving the Nubian Monuments Fund, told The Cairo Post Thursday.
Over 14 temples and shrines had to be moved from their original locations in order not to be submerged during the construction of the High Dam, which created Lake Nasser—one of the biggest manmade water reservoirs in the world—located to the south of the dam and stretching for 500 kilometers, according to Saleh.
“Under the supervision of UNESCO, the temples, spanning several eras of ancient Egyptian history, were dismantled and reassembled over higher and safer spots from 1964-1970,” he said, before adding that UNESCO specialists saved the temples, but there has been no restoration done to the walls, the carvings and the ceilings of those temples since.
The core body of the temples was successfully saved, but during the past two decades, much collateral damage has occurred, especially to the colors on the walls, some of which are totally lost, said Saleh, who praised Damaty’s decision.