Why were the temples of Abu Simbel moved?

When construction began on the high Dam at Aswan, in southern Egypt, it was realized that the temples of Abu Simbel would be completely submerged as the waters to the Nile rose behind the dam to create a much needed reservoir.

       In 1959 Egypt and its southern neighbor Sudan appealed for help to the United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organization. The first archaeological surveys began in 1960 and U.N.E.S.C.O’s response grew into what was to become the biggest archaeological rescue operation in history.

      Abu Simbel consists of three temples of Rameses II built more than 3,000 years ago. The most important and impressive temple included four gigantic seated statues of the king, each 65 feet high. By 1968 these four enormous monuments to Rameses had been cut out of the rock and reconstructed, exactly as they were, high up on a cliff.

      Six more great statues of Rameses and his queen (about 30 feet high) were also excavated and moved to a dry sanctuary above the old river bed, along with everything else that could be salvaged.

What is an anticyclone?

The name anticyclone was first introduced by sir Francis Galton, the English meteorologist, in 1861 to describe weather conditions opposite to those of a cyclone. Anticyclones are characterized by fine weather and weak winds.

      In weather maps and climatic chances anticyclones appear as a region in which the pressure is higher than n its surroundings. So when the weather forecaster starts to talk about anticyclones you can be prepared for the weather to remain stable for some time, usually sunny and with occasional light rain.

      In a cyclone or low-pressure area the winds circulate anticlockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. Cyclones are usually areas of strong, violent winds and indicate bad weather.

Where is the Sargasso Sea?

The Sargasso Sea is in the Atlantic Ocean south of the Bermudas and several hundred miles east of the American mainland. It is famous for its seaweed and as a spawning ground for eels.

     When these eels are eight or more years old and spawning time is due, they leave the pond or stream where they have been living and make their way, over land if necessary, to the sea.

      When they reach the area known as the Sargasso, the females lay their millions of eggs at a depth of 1,500 feet and the males fertilize them. The baby eels hatch out after a few days and float to the surface. Vast masses of seaweed lie on the surface of the Sargasso.

      Carried along by winds and ocean currents from the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, this floating seaweed is concentrated into an area many thousands of square miles in extent. There it gives refuge to myriads of sea creatures, such as fish, sea-worms, mollusks, and crabs and jellyfish. Sea birds find it useful as a resting place.

      This floating “island” may have given rise to the famous legend in ancient times of the lost land of Atlantis. Christopher Columbus recorded taking two weeks to sail through it in 1492.

        But what happens to the baby eels? Drifting at first, they eventually make their way to the ponds and streams of their parents. The American eels go to America and the European eels to Europe. The old eels do not return but die after spawning.

      The Sargasso Sea is the subject of many legends. Ships are said to have vanished in it, but there is no truth in the legend that associates it with the lost land of Atlantis.

Where is the world’s smallest country?

The smallest count in the world is the Vatican City. The Vatican is an independent and sovereign state within the boundaries of Rome in Italy.

   Although the Vatican has always been the spiritual and administrative centre of the Roman Catholic Church, it did not become an independent state until 1929.

    The city state has a daily news paper, a railway station, and its own bank. It has an area of 0.17 square miles and a population of about 1,000.

     There are no frontier formalities for those entering Vatican City where millions yearly visit St Peter’s and the exhibition galleries.

    The chief treasures to be seen are the Michelangelo frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, paintings by Raphael, Fra Angelico and Caravaggio, the frescoes of Pinturicchio and the codex Vaticanus of the Greek Bible.

When is pumice stone formed?

      Pumice stone is formed when molten volcanic glass, ejected from beneath the earth’s crust, cools so rapidly that there is no time for it to crystallize.

     After the pumice has solidified, the gases inside are suddenly released and the stone swells up into its characteristics light and airy form. If the substance had cooled under greater pressure it would have turned into solid glass.

     The stones have long been used for cleaning and polishing. Since the Second World War it has been employed widely in railroad building, masonry and insulation. Good pumice is found in Iceland, the Canaries, New Zealand, Greece, the pacific coast of the United States and many other areas with a volcanic background.