|when:||22 Oct 2011 (various dates)|
|where:||Abu Simbel Temple|
During the Abu Simbel Festival crowds fill the temple at sunrise to watch the shafts of light creeping across the stone, illuminating the statues of Ramses, Ra and Amun. This spectacular sight happens twice a year, in February and October.
It was Ramses II who, in a fit of precision and architectural egotism, carefully angled his temple so that the inner sanctum would light up once on the anniversary of his rise to the throne, and once on his birthday. Impressively, it is only the inner sanctum that lights up, while the statute of Ptah (the god of darkness) remains in the shadows.
When the Aswan Dam caused the Nasser lake to rise and inundate the area in the early 1960s, the entire temple was moved to higher ground and for this reason the sun now strikes a day later than Ramses had originally planned.
Posted by: Memphis Tours Egypt