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更新时间:2018-4-25 20:49:02 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Egypt's exquisite temples that had to be moved

Deep within the interior of the Great Temple at Abu Simbel, carved into a mountainside in southern Egypt's ancient Nubian Valley, lies a vast, wondrous world. Pillars adorned with intricate military artworks support a ceiling painted with winged vultures. Floor-to-ceiling hieroglyphics depicting the victorious battles of Pharaoh Ramses II, the same man responsible for constructing this enormous temple, decorate the walls. Outside, four colossal statues of the pharaoh face east toward the rising sun, looking out over a crystal-clear lake.

位于埃及南部的古老努比亚山谷(Nubian Valley)有一座依崖凿建的阿布辛贝巨型神庙,神庙深处别有洞天。殿中的高大廊柱上刻着战争场景的艺术浮雕,柱顶的天花板下画着张开翅膀的秃鹫。殿内上下各处的象形文字描述着古埃及第十九朝法老拉美西斯二世(Pharaoh Ramses II)时代的显赫战功。正是这位法老修建、装饰了这座以宏伟著称的阿布辛贝神庙。神庙外,耸立着四座法老神像,神像面朝日出的东方,目光投向一片清澈通透的湖水。

It’s an incredible sight to behold, but one that if history had gone just a little bit differently, would not be here today. Instead, this temple would be under the lake’s waters. What’s even harder to imagine, if Abu Simbel had not been saved, places like Vienna's Historic Centre, Cambodia's Angkor Wat and other Unesco World Heritage sites might only live on in history books.


“Egypt has done a great job preserving their ancient temples,” said Kim Keating, director of global sales for luxury adventure tour company Geographic Expeditions. “And this [complex] – with soft lighting highlighting its interior artworks; graffiti that dates back to early invaders, documenting how Egypt was conquered over time; and its location in front of a beautiful lake so large it’s like peering out on to the ocean – is magnificent.”

高端体验式旅游策划公司地理探险公司(Geographic Expeditions, GeoEx)的全球销售总监基汀(Kim Keating)说:"埃及在保护古神庙群方面做得很好。"她还补充道, 阿布辛贝神庙内柔和的光线照亮了室内的艺术作品;墙壁上的涂鸦是早期入侵者留下的,记录了埃及被占领的那个时代;整座神庙面朝着一片美丽的湖水,湖面广阔横无际涯,神庙宛如俯视着汪洋大海;壮观无比!

North Africa's Nubian Valley straddles the border of southern Egypt and northern Sudan, a remote desert region dotted with palm-fringed oases and occasional wadis (seasonal rivers) that is home to the mighty Nile River, which winds its way past the Egyptian city of Aswan towards Cairo. In ancient days, this was a land of gold and riches, and one ruled by kings – many of whom built pyramids, monuments and temples, in part as a show of power. The Abu Simbel complex, built over the course of 20 years in the 13th Century BC, is one of the most impressive still standing today. Alongside the larger Great Temple stands a smaller temple that honours Ramses' queen, Nefertari.


Keating was in awe when she saw the temples for the first time. But she was even more amazed to find out that in the early 1960s, a team of international engineers disassembled and then carefully moved – piece by piece – each of them. They then reassembled the temples more than 60m above their original location to save the complex from the Nile’s rising waters. That 5,250-sq-km lake that Keating described is Lake Nasser, a reservoir that formed when the valley flooded. Just more than 50 years ago, it didn't even exist.

基汀说,她第一次亲眼看到这些宏伟的神庙群时惊叹不已。而当她得知这些神庙是20世纪六十年代初期,由一队国际工程专家切割成一块块再分批运送过来组装才移至这里时,她更感觉无比震撼。这群专家将神庙群整体迁移至高出原先遗址60余米的高地上,使他们免遭上涨的尼罗河的破坏。上文中基汀说到的那片湖是纳赛尔湖(Lake Nasser),它覆盖的面积高达5,250平方公里,这片水域是努比亚山谷水位上升所形成的水库。五十多年前,这片湖并不存在。

“It's all done so perfectly,” she said. “It's impossible to tell, even when you (like me) really try.”


Unesco’s ‘Nubia Campaign’ came about in 1960, when the United Arab Republic (a political union of Egypt and Syria that existed between 1958 and 1961) began construction on a new dam along the Nile River, just outside of Aswan. While the dam would improve irrigation throughout the valley as well as significantly increase Egypt's hydroelectric output, in a few years the swelling waters would also completely submerge Abu Simbel's exquisite temples.

联合国教科文组织的这项"努比亚行动计划"(Nubia Campaign)开始于1960年。那时候阿拉伯联合共和国(United Arab Republic, 是1958年2月1日由埃及与叙利亚联合组成的泛阿拉伯国家,于1961年12月26日解散)当局在阿斯旺城外的尼罗河流域建起一个新的水坝。新的水坝一方面能够提升尼罗河流域的农业灌溉效率,另一方面也能够极大地提高埃及水力发电的产量。但上涨的水位也会使精美的阿布辛贝神庙群在几年内被全部淹没。

In an effort to prevent the temples’ destruction, Unesco embarked on its first-ever collaborative international rescue effort (the organisation initially formed in 1945 to promote a joined culture of peace and prevent the outbreak of another war). This incredible effort later became the catalyst for a World Heritage list that would help protect and promote what now totals 1,073 significant cultural and natural sites around the globe.


“I had no idea before visiting Abu Simbel that it led to Unesco creating a World Heritage list,” Keating said. “But I can definitely see why. The setting... the history... it all has that wow factor.”


However, the process of relocating the temples wasn’t so simple.


“It was a huge undertaking,” explained Dr Mechtild Rössler, Unesco’s director of Heritage Division and director of the World Heritage Centre. “One that I'm not sure could be done again today, with questions such as the ways a campaign of this magnitude would impact a region both environmentally and socially coming into play.”

联合国教科文组织世界遗产部主任兼世界遗产中心负责人罗斯勒博士(Dr Mechtild Rössler)说:"这是一项非常巨大的工程!我很怀疑这个项目搁在今天是不是还能做成,因为会有许多质疑之声,比如这样大规模的工程对地区生态和当地社将会造成何种影响之类。"

Beginning in November 1963, a group of hydrologists, engineers, archaeologists and other professionals set out on Unesco’s multi-year plan to break down both temples, cutting them into precise blocks (807 for the Great Temple, 235 for the smaller one) that were then numbered, carefully moved and restored to their original grandeur within a specially created mountain facade. Workers even recalculated the exact measurements needed to recreate the same solar alignment, assuring that twice a year, on about 22 February (the date of Ramses II’s ascension to the throne) and 22 October (his birthday), the rising sun would continue to shine through a narrow opening to illuminate the sculpted face of King Ramses II and those of two other statues deep inside the Great Temple's interior. Finally, in September 1968, a colourful ceremony marked the project's completion.


“[Abu Simbel] was a case in which the confluences of Unesco – culture, science and education – came together in an amazing way,” Dr Rössler said.


Indeed, it has gone down as one of history's greatest archaeological engineering challenges. Imagine such a massive project being conducted in what seems to be the middle of nowhere, often in stifling heat. In retrospect, the whole thing seems preposterous, but it was exactly what Unesco needed to prove to themselves that by pulling together resources, they were virtually unstoppable.


“The completion of such an enormous and complex project helped [the organisation] realise that we were capable of three main things,” Dr Rössler said. “First, bringing together the best expertise the world has to offer. Second, securing the international cooperation of its members [at the time totalling around 100 member states; today there are 195 member states and 10 associate members]. And third: assuring the responsibility of the international community to bring together funding and support that would help the world's heritage as a whole.”


“We recognised that one country alone is just not capable,” she said.


With momentum flowing, Unesco continued launching campaigns, including the ongoing safeguarding of Venice, nearly destroyed by floods in the mid-1960s. In 1965, a White House conference in Washington DC proposed the formation of a ‘World Heritage Trust’ to continuously preserve the world's ‘superb natural and scenic areas and historic sites’. A few years later, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) crafted a similar proposal. But it wasn't until November 1972 that the General Conference of Unesco adopted the Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, merging both drafts together to preserve cultural and natural heritage equally.

联合国科教文组织乘胜前进,持续发起人类历史遗产拯救行动计划,包括迄今仍在继续中的"威尼斯保护行动"(威尼斯在二十世纪六十年代中期几乎要被洪水吞没)。1965年,在美国联邦首都华盛顿举行的一次白宫会议上,会上倡议设立"世界遗产信托基金",呼吁持续保护世界上"最杰出的自然风景区与文化遗产"。几年后,世界自然保护联盟(International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN)也发表了类似的提议。直到 1972年11月,联合国教科文组织在巴黎召开会议,整合了两份草案,并通过《保护世界文化与自然遗产公约》,决议同等保护世界文化与自然遗产。

Today, the Nubia Campaign’s success is responsible for the conservation and preservation of places like Mexico's Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Germany’s Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura, and South Africa's Robben Island, where the country’s former president, Nelson Mandela, served time in a tiny prison cell. It has also led to more elaborate safeguarding measures – similar to those taken at Abu Simbel – at World Heritage sites around the globe. These exist especially in war-torn zones like Iraq and Yemen, as well as Ethiopia, where just a decade ago Unesco returned the Obelisk of Axum: a 24m-tall, 160-tonne granite obelisk that the Italians took piecemeal back to Rome in 1937 under Mussolini’s fascist regime.

如今,世界上的很多处世界遗产,如墨西哥帝王蝴蝶生态保护区(Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve)、德国施瓦本汝拉山脉(Swabian Jura)中的远古洞穴与冰河时代艺术、南非罗本岛博物馆(因岛上监狱曾在南非种族隔离时代长期关押前南非领袖纳尔逊•曼德拉而闻名)等,都因"努比亚行动计划"开创先河而被更好地保护起来。该计划也成为后续保护全球各地世界遗产的"精细化"范本。对一些连年受战火影响的国家和地区,如伊拉克、也门、埃塞俄比亚等,这样的行动更具意义。十多年前,在联合国科教文组织的努力下,高24米、重达160吨的阿克苏姆方尖碑(Obelisk of Axum,又称罗马石碑)从意大利被运送回埃塞俄比亚。这块巨型石碑是1937年意大利墨索里尼法西斯政权在征服埃塞俄比亚后将它作为战利品运到罗马的。

“The return and re-erection of the obelisk – this was the moment that marked the end of the Second World War [for Ethiopians],” Dr Rössler said, adding: “People need their heritage. Natural disasters, war... we can't let these things take that heritage away.”


Fifty years after the completion of the Nubia project, the Abu Simbel temples remain a popular – albeit still remote – traveller pilgrimage. Lake Nasser is known for its excellent freshwater fishing, as well as its numerous crocodiles. But the highlight of the Nubian Valley is undoubtedly the temple complex, which 3,000 years on endures as an iconic symbol of both humankind's common heritage and how one ancient monument can help preserve the planet. Of course, it could have been something else entirely:


“People might still be visiting the temples,” said Dr Rössler, “but it would be through snorkelling or diving or – because of the crocodiles – looking at them through the floor of a glass-bottom boat.”