File photo: 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)
Egypt Saturday cancelled festivities of a bi annual phenomenon of the sun illuminating a statue of King Ramses II at Abu Simbel in Aswan governorate in the wake of the Western Desert terrorist incident that killed 16 policemen Friday.
In statements reported by the state owned MENA agency, Aswan governor Magdy Hejazi said all "activities of celebrations" — due Saturday and Sunday — would be cancelled in solidarity with “police martyrs.”
Hundreds of tourists and dignitaries were expected to gather at the 3,200-year-old temple to watch the dawn event, when the sun aligns with the temple such that its rays penetrate its sanctuary, located 48-metres inside the temple, and light up the king’s face.
One of Egypt's most powerful pharaohs, Ramses II had the temple carved into a sandstone mountain on the banks of the Nile to align with the sun twice a year — in February and October — to celebrate his birthday and ascension to the throne.