In the late nineteenth century, Western archaeologists and tourists were fascinated by the ruins of ancient Egypt. Here are some of the incredible photos they took, which were hand-tinted in the fashion of the day. This is like meta-history, where we look back on an historical method of looking back at ancient history.

Temple of Philae, c. 1900

The Aswan Low Dam was completed in 1902 near the island of Philae, which was nearly always looded. In the 1960s the UNESCO started a project to save the buildings and transported them to a nearby island.

Abu Simbel temples, relocated between 1964 and 1968 because of the same reasons as Philae, mentioned above.

An obelisk in Alexandria, c. 1900

Isle of Philae, c. 1900

The Karnak Temple Complex ad the gate of Ptolemy III

The Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx and some surrounding ruins

Tomb of Caliphs

The temple at Kom Ombo, built during the Ptolemaic dynasty in the 2nd-1st century BC, half-buried in sand, 1880s

Hagar-el-Silsileh, probably submerged because of the Aswan Dam

A Statue of Rameses II in Memphis, Egypt in the 1880s

(via Wikimedia Commons)

The old Gezira bridge in the 1880s with big lions

A bazaar in Cairo

A narrow street in Old Cairo

Mosque of Sultan Hasan with an ablution fountain, Cairo

Bedouins Pasturing Camels

A street somewhere in Cairo

Pompey's Pillar, a (88 ft or 26.85 m tall including its base and capital) Roman triumphal column in Alexandra, the largest outside Rome and Constantinople and one of the largest monolithic columns ever erected, built in 297 AD.

It was climbed by Commander John Shortland and John White on 3 February, 1803 and displayed the Union Flag there and drank a toast to King George III. Three days later they climbed it again, toasted the king and ate a beef steak.

One of the 3400-year-old Colossi of Memnon statues in Thebes

Medinet Habu, the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III (1186-1155 BC), Thebe

The Great Temple of Abydos (the Temple of Seti I)

The Temple of Horus in Edfu

A donkey market in Giza

(The images are from Brooklyn Museum.)