United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

 

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The construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s, although a necessity for the economic development and well-being of the peoples of Egypt and Sudan, threatened to submerge the 3,000-year-old monuments and temples of ancient Nubia. UNESCO launched an international campaign in 1960, inviting the community of nations to extend financial assistance and technical expertise for the safeguarding of these temples.

Over a period of 20 years, six groups of monuments in Egyptian and Sudanese Nubia were painstakingly dismantled stone by stone, and were moved and reassembled on other sites. The scale of the project and the immense technological challenge it generated - a total of 22 monuments and architectural complexes, requiring the assistance of 40 technical missions from five continents - were unprecedented in UNESCO’s history.

To celebrate 20 years of international solidarity and the successful conclusion of the enterprise in 1980, this medal was struck in Germany by the Staatliche Münze, Karlsruhe. Designed by Annick Maignen, the obverse shows the Kiosk of Trajan at Philae, partly submerged by the rising water level. The reverse features the head of Ramses II from the Abu Simbel Temple. The Nubian monuments from Abu Simbel and Philae were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979.

Available in gold and silver

Photo © UNESCO/J.C. Bernath

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