, pub-5063766797865882, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Celebrating at Abu Simbel, 1855 ~ Ancient Egypt Facts

May 15, 2012

Celebrating at Abu Simbel, 1855

Celebrating at Abu Simbel, 1855
William C. Prime
Mindful of the brilliant illumination of the boat the previous evening, at Wady Halfeh, it occurred to us that we might realize somewhat of the ancient glory of Abou Simbel by lighting it with our coloured lanterns.

Abu Simbel
Abd-el-Atti entered into the idea with his accustomed alacrity, and I went up into the temple to advise and assist in the desposition of candles and lanterns, while the ladies, who did not go into the temple on our passage up, waited on board until the illumination was complete.

The sand hill was almost impassable. It was like climbing a snow bank fifty feet high, the feet going in deep and slipping far back at every step, so that we had to lie down and breathe several times before we reached the top and descended into the doorway of the temple.

When our arrangements were complete we returned and brought the ladies up. The procession was picturesque. Two blazing torches led the way, and four more brought up the rear.

Never since the days of Rameses has his great temple shone so brilliantly. Every statue held bright lanterns, and for two hundred feet through the long rooms we placed them rows of every colour, shining on painted walls and lofty statues. The altar was in shadow for so we arranged it hiding the lights behind it that they might shine on the faces of the gods, and not on the altar front. When all was ready we called in the ladies, and, as they entered, the sailors who had busied themselves about the lamps, suddenly disappeared, and the temple was apparently empty. But at the moment of our re-entering, in place of the chorus of priests and attendants that was wont to arise in the hall, deep, sepulchral voices, from unknown recesses, uttered in loud and terrible unison, the well-known cry, “Bucksheesh, Hawajji!”

It was vain to resist such an appeal, and we answered it instantly; whereat the voices changed, and the men emerged from their hiding-places with shouts of thanks.


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