Statue of Ramesses II
History and museums
The Statue of Ramesses II is a 3,200-year-old figure of Ramesses II, depicting him standing, that was discovered in 1820 by Giovanni Battista Caviglia at the Great Temple of Ptah near Memphis, Egypt. It is made from red granite.
The statue was found broken in six pieces and earlier attempts at restoration failed. In 1955, Egyptian Prime Minister Gamal Abdel Nasser moved the statue to the large Bab Al-Hadid square in Cairo that was then renamed Ramses Square. There the statue was restored to its full height of 11 metres and erected on a three metre pedestal at the edge of a fountain. It was stabilized by iron bars inside the body.
Over time Ramses Square turned out to be an unsuitable location, as the statue continued to be exposed to noise, pollution, and vibration from traffic and subways. The Egyptian government therefore decided to relocate the statue to a safer and more dignified location. At a temporary location on the Giza Plateau it will undergo restoration. The eventual resting place of the statue of Ramesses II will be the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) that is under construction. It is planned that the statue will greet visitors at the entrance to the GEM that is scheduled to open in 2018.
The transport of the statue from Ramses Square to Giza was a technological challenge that had been in the planning since 2002. The statue weighs about 83 tons. A replica had been made and was transported several weeks before the scheduled actual move along the planned route to Giza to test the proposed relocation process. The move took place on August 25, 2006. During its ten-hour transport the statue was wrapped and covered in rubber foam. Two flat-back trucks carried the weight of the statue and its support structures as it travelled in a vertical position.
The move has been criticized for its costs and the concern about pollution in the Giza location.