The World In Stamps

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Compaign to Safeguard Pharaonic Temples In Nubia: Morocco 1963

In 1963 Morocco took part in the UNESCO compaign to safeguard Pharaonic temples in Nubia. It issued a set of three postage stamps for the benefit of the Campaign Fund.

Philae Temple in its new location
 The Temple of Isis from Philae at its new location Author Ivan Marcialis from Quartucciu, Italy, shared under  Creative Commons.

After the revolution of 1952, led by president Gamal Abdelnasser (known as Nasser), Egypt established ambitious development plans. To provide the necessary electricity, Egypt decided to build the high dam on the Nile near the city of Aswan in the south of the country. But the lake of the dam, was going to extend for hundreds of kilometers in Egyptian Nubia and Sudanese Nubia. 

UNESCO – Nubia Monuments Saving – Morocco 1963 – YT461

The Dam’s lake threatened to engulf a large number of pharaonic monuments, including 17 temples. The most famous among these monuments was the Ramses II temple at Abu Simbel and temple of Isis in Philae.

Safeguard Pharaonic Temples In Nubia

 UNESCO – Nubia Monuments Saving – Morocco 1963 – YT462

To save the monuments, Egypt requested international assistance. The UNESCO lauched a very ambitious project to  dismantle the temples stone by stone and rebuild them in other places, away from the waters of Lake Dam. 

 UNESCO – Nubia Monuments Saving – Morocco 1963 – YT463

In 1960, UNESCO, the United Nations Education Sciences and Culture Organization, launched an international campaign to save the monuments of Nubia. The project aimed to dismantle the temples stone by stone and rebuild them in other places, away from the waters of Lake Dam. Thirty countries were involved in providing scientific expertise and material resources for this giant project.

To provide the necessary financial means for this project, thirty countries have issued commemorative postage stamps with the words “save the monuments of Nubia”. The generated income was used to fund the project. Morocco was one of the participating countries.

Temples relocated outside of Egypt

The statue of Ramses the Great at the Great Temple of Abu Simbel is reassembled after having been moved in 1967

 The statue of Ramses the Great at the Great Temple of Abu Simbel is reassembled after having been moved in 1967. “Per-Olow” – Per-Olow Anderson (1921-1989), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Most monuments were rebuilt in locations adjacent to the place of origin. But four temples were gifted to other countries in recognition of their efforts to preserve the Egyptian monuments. 

Temple of Taffeh donated to Netherlands

The temple of Taffeh was built of sandstone between 25 BCE and 14 CE during the rule of the Roman emperor Augustus. It was part of the Roman fortress known as Taphis and measures 6.5 by 8 metres. It was offered to Netherlans.  It was reconstructed in a new stall in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, Netherlands in 1971. 

Temple of Ellesyia donated to Italy

The Temple of Ellesyia, is an ancient Egyptian rocky temple built during the 18th dynasty by the Pharaoh Tuhutmus III. It was dedicated to the deities Amun, Horus and Satis. After the rescue compaign, the temple was offered as a gift to Italy and moved to the Museo Gizio (Egyptian Museum)  in Turino – Italy

Temple of Debod donated to Spain

The temple of Debod is a small Egyptian temple, of 12 by 15 meters, dating back to the 2nd century BC. It was first built as a small single-room chapel dedicated to the god Amun. Later it was extended to reach it current size and dedicated to Isis of Philae.
Temple of Debod in it nes location in Madrid
Temple of Debod in Madrid.  Author: Diego Delso,, License CC-BY-SA
The temple was donated to Spain and transported stone by stone. It was rebuilt in Madrid’s Cuartel de la Montaña Park, preserving its original orientation from east to west. It was opened to the public in 1972.

Temple of Denur donated to the USA

The Temple of Dendur is an ancient Egyptian temple built by the Roman governor of Egypt, Petronius, around 15 B.C., as one of many Egyptian temples commissioned by the emperor Augustus. The temple is dedicated to Isis and Osiris.
The temnple was relocated to New York, United States and rebuilt in a new wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
 Catalogue reference: Yvert & Tellier #461 to #463

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