In Photos: Thousands witness sun alignment at King Ramses II temple in Aswan

Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 22 Oct 2022

Around 4,000 foreign tourists, Arab and Egyptian visitors gathered on Saturday at sundown at the King Ramses II temple in Abu Simbel in Aswan to watch the sun alignment, an astronomical phenomenon that takes place biannualy – on the 22nd of October and 22nd of February.

Abu Simbel
Foreign tourists, Arab and Egyptian visitors gathered at King Ramses II temple in Abu Simbel in Aswan on Saturday 22 October, 2022.

 

During the solar alignment, the sun’s rays enter the temple’s sanctum to light three of four statues which belong to King Ramses II and the deities Amun-Re and Re-Hur-Akhty, leaving the God of Darkness Ptah in shadow to symbolise his connection to the underworld.

Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Mostafa Waziri said that the alignment took place at around 5:53am and lasted for nearly 20 minutes.

He noted that eco-friendly carts were used to transport visitors around the archaeological sites, part of a broader effort to upgrade services provided to visitors of museums and archaeological sites around Egypt.

Head of the Antiquities Sector in Aswan and Nuba Abdel-Moneim Saeed said the carts can be used by visitors during the site’s visiting hours and they are located in a special parking area in front of the ticketing area.

Folklore troupes performed songs and dances wearing traditional costumes during a celebration that took place the night before and extended towards the sun rise of the solar alignment day.

Abu Simbel temples, including two awe-inspiring temples of King Ramses II and his wife Nefertari, are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In the 1960s, both temples were relocated to another location in a massive salvage operation to save the temples before the High Dam was built and Lake Nasser flooded.

The current dates of the alignment – the 22nd of February and October – are one day later than the original date before the relocation.

 
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