Relocated Ancient Egyptian Monuments

By the Editors of the Madain Project

This page attempts to list the ancient Egyptian monuments that were moved throughout history and relocated elsewhere.

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Overview

List of the Monuments

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Temple of Derr
The Temple of Derr, like many others in Nubia, was dismantled in 1964 CE in order to save it from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. It was moved to a new location close to that of the temple of Amada from its original site on the Nile's east bank a few miles to the south. This is another example of Ramesses II's rock hewn temples, built during about the 30th year of his reign to celebrate his Sed festival.

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Abu Simbel Temples
The twin temple complex of Abu Simbel was relocated in its entirety in 1968 CE under the supervision of a Polish archaeologist, Kazimierz Michałowski, from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology University of Warsaw, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary or they would have been submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the River Nile. The project was carried out as part of the UNESCO Nubian Salvage Campaign.

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Temple of Amada
Between 1964 and 1975 CE, the temple of Amada was moved from its original location to a new site "some 65 meters higher and 2.5 kilometers away from its original site". Chopping it into blocks, as was being done with the other temples, was not an option; the paintings would not have survived. Seeing that all seemed resigned to see the temple flooded by the silty waters of Lake Nasser, Christiane Desroches Noblecourt announced that France would save it. She asked two architects to propose a method for moving the temple in one piece. Their idea was to put the temple on rails and transport it hydraulically to a site a few kilometers away that was more than 60 meters higher.

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Obelisk of Theodosius
The obelisk was originally erected during the 18th dynasty by Pharaoh Thutmose III (1479–1425 BCE) to the south of the seventh pylon of the great temple of Karnak. Roman emperor Constantius II (337–361 CE) had it and another obelisk transported along the river Nile to Alexandria to commemorate his ventennalia or 20 years on the throne in 357 CE. The obelisk remained in Alexandria until 390 CE; when Theodosius I (379–395 CE) had it transported to Constantinople and put up on the spina of the Hippodrome, and it has remained there ever since.

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Philae Temple Complex
The Philae Temple was relocated in 1971 CE to higher ground on Agilika Island after rising Nile waters resulting from the construction of the Aswan Dam threatened to submerge it. The UNESCO-driven rescue effort, which included Italian partners, was estimated to cost some USD 10 million at the time.

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Philae Obelisk
Today the Philae obelisk is the most significant of Kingston Lacy’s collection of Egyptian artefacts. It played an important role in the nineteenth-century race to decipher hieroglyphs. The original carving of the obelisk dates back to 150 BCE, Egypt. It took six years for the obelisk to journey from Philae to England, where it eventually arrived in 1821 CE.

William John commissioned Giovanni Belzoni, a famed adventurer of the day, to take on the task. But soon after the obelisk had been moved to the edge of the Nile, its support failed and it began to sink into the riverbed.

When the obelisk eventually arrived in England, the Duke of Wellington, whom William John knew from his military service, offered his gun carriage for its onward transportation to Dorset. An inscription at the bottom confirms that he chose where it was to be finally positioned in Kingston Lacy’s grounds, and laid the foundation stone in August 1827 CE.

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Wadi es-Sebua
Approached by an avenue of sphinxes, the Wadi es-Sebua temple was built during the reign of Ramesses II (reigned 1279-1213 BCE) and dedicated to Amun-Ra, Ra-Harakhty and the deified pharaoh.

When the Wadi es-Sebua temples were threatened by flooding from the construction of the Aswan Dam project, the temple was dismantled in 1964 CE by the Egyptian Antiquities Service. They were moved to a new site only 4 kilometers west from their original location. The Temple of Dakka and Temple of Maharraqa were also moved and rebuilt at the new Wadi es-Sebua temple complex area.

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Temple of Taffeh
The Temple of Taffeh once stood near the Roman fortress of Taphis (Taffeh) in Nubia. Today it occupies a prominent place in the central hall of the RMO (Rijksmuseum Van Oudheden). It was a gift from the Egyptian authorities in gratitude for the Netherlands’ part in the campaign to save the Nubian monuments near Abu Simbel, which were under threat from the building of the Aswan High Dam in the Nile. The temple was built during the reign of Emperor Augustus. At that time Egypt was part of the Roman Empire

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Temple of Maharraqa
The Temple of Maharraqa is a Roman-built (1st century CE) unfinished temple dedicated to Serapis and Isis. The only part of the monument that was finished was an inner court surrounded on three sides by columns.

Today it is located in New Wadi es-Sebua, a temple complex area in southern Egypt situated on the banks of Lake Nasser. It was placed in its present location as part of the large rescue effort led by UNESCO to save the ancient monuments of Lower Nubia from the waters of Lake Nasser.

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Temple of Kalabsha
The Kalabsha Temple originally built at Kalabsha (Talmis) was moved to its present location at New Kalabsha (Chellal) in 1970 CE, together with a number of other monuments from Nubia, including the Kiosk of Qertassi (Kertassi). The sandstone edifice was built by the Roman Emperor Octavius Augustus (30 to 14 BC) and dedicated to the fertility and Nubian Solar deity known as Mandulis (Merwel who was the Nubian counterpart of Horus). It was the largest free-standing temple of Egyptian Nubia and the design of Kalabsha Temple is classical for the Ptolemaic period with pylons, courtyard, hypostyle hall and three room sanctuary.

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Temple of Ellesyia
The Temple of Ellesyia is an ancient Egyptian rock-cut temple originally located near the site of Qasr Ibrim. It was built during the 18th Dynasty by the Pharaoh Thutmosis III. The temple was dedicated to the deities Amun, Horus and Satis.

During the Nubian monument salvage campaign guided by the UNESCO in the 1960s the temple was moved to the Museo Egizio at Turin in order to save it from being submerged by Lake Nasser.

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Temple of Dendur
The Temple of Dendur (Dendoor in nineteenth-century sources) is a Roman Egyptian temple built by the Roman governor of Egypt, Petronius, around 15 BCE, as one of many Egyptian temples commissioned by the emperor Augustus.

The temple went through disasters from the weather and damages over time. In the 1960s, the temple was removed from its original location and given to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, US, where it has been an open exhibit since 1978 CE.

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Temple of Debod
The Temple of Debod is an ancient Egyptian temple that was dismantled and rebuilt in the center of Madrid, Spain, in Parque de la Montaña, Madrid, a square located in Calle de Irún, 21–25 Madrid.

The shrine was originally erected 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) south of Aswan in Nubia, very close to the first cataract of the Nile and to the great religious centre in Philae dedicated to the goddess Isis.

In 1960 CE, due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam and the consequent threat posed by its reservoir to numerous monuments and archeological sites, UNESCO made an international call to save this rich historical legacy. As a sign of gratitude for the help provided by Spain in saving the Abu Simbel temples, the Egyptian state donated the Temple of Debod to Spain in 1968 CE.

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