Egypt’s antiquities minister, along with a number of Egyptian ministers and foreign and Arab ambassadors, visited on Sunday Aswan's Abu Simbel Temple in a tour to celebrate the biannual solar alignment at the temple of Ramses II.
The tour visited parts of the Ramses temple, where twice annually – 22 February and 22 October – sun rays penetrate the structure and illuminate part of the inner walls.
Sunday’s tour also included visits to the temple of the wife of King Ramses II, Queen Nefertari.
The tour was attended by Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali, Culture Minister Inas Abdel-Dayem, and Tourism Minister Rania El-Mashat.
It also included the ambassadors of Jordan, the UAE, Belgium, Lithuania, Germany, Finland, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Sweden, Hungary, and Bahrain; cultural representatives from Spain and China; as well as the heads of antiquities institutes in Italy, the US, and Holland; and the head of culture of UNESCO Egypt.
The Egyptian antiquities ministry celebrated the solar alignment by giving the attendees souvenirs to commemorate 200 years of the discovery of the Abu Simbel temples. The souvenirs included cups, key chains, and shirts bearing a picture of King Ramses II at Abu Simbel with the logo of the ministry and UNESCO.
For most of the year, the inner sanctum of the main temple at Abu Simbel is shrouded in darkness. But twice a year, sunlight illuminates the seated statues of the sun gods Re-Horakhte and Amon-Re as well as a statue of Ramses II.