Visitors gather to watch sunrise illuminate inner sanctum at Egypt's Abu Simbel
Nevine El-Aref, , Monday 22 Oct 2018


Two thousand visitors gathered in the Great Temple at Abu Simbel in Aswan at dawn on Monday to watch the sun’s rays illuminate the temple’s sculptures.

The visitors included Egypt’s Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Anany, a group of other ministers, 26 foreign ambassadors and cultural advisors, and heads of 16 foreign and Arab antiquities institutes.

The tour visited parts of the Ramses temple, where twice annually – on 22 February and 22 October – the sun’s rays penetrate the structure and illuminate part of the inner walls.

The Egyptian antiquities ministry is marking 50 years since the restoration and relocation of the Abu Simbel temples in September 1968.

El-Anany led the group on a tour to visit Nefertari’s temple, and Ramses II’s temple, where they inspected the temple’s concrete dome.

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.

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