Hundreds witness solstice at King Ramses II temple

Ahram Online, Monday 22 Oct 2012

Tourists gather at Aswan's Abu Simbel to witness bi-annual solstice when sun's rays fall directly on temple of King Ramses II

Ramses II
Dawn breaks on statues of Pharoah Ramses II (R) and Amun, the God of Light (L), in the inner sanctum of the temple of Abu Simbel (Photo: Reuters)

A phenomenon that happens twice a year in Aswan's Abu Simbel took place on Monday when the sun’s rays fell directly onto the King Ramses II temple to mark his birthday.

A solstice takes place each year between 20 and 22 February, when the king was crowned, and between 20 and 22 October, when he was born.

In celebration of the historic moment, Abu Simbel hosted cultural shows and popular bands on Sunday and Monday. The celebration was attended by tourists and local officials.

Ahmed Abdullah, general manager of Abu Simbel and the Nuba temples, told the Al-Ahram Arabic website that the phenomena usually attracts more than 1,300 tourists from all over the world.

"Tourists who attend this unique event say it confirms that ancient Egyptians were pioneers in astrology," he added.

According to Abdullah, this is one of 4,500 astronomical phenomena that were celebrated by ancient Egyptians.

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