2008 News Archive - Holidays - Have a Pharaoh time in the sun

04 12 2007

There are some visitor attractions in Egypt that can be seen at any time, with the Sphinx, the Pyramids and the fleshpots of Cairo visible all the time, but one place can only be seen in its full glory twice a year.

The location in question is the Abu Simbel Temple, built by Ramses II and filled with remarkable statues, carvings and pillars, with four seated statues of the pharaoh himself at the entrance.

While this is indeed spectacular at any time, the most fascinating feature of the temple is its alignment with the sun, which was designed to allow the light to shine directly into the innermost shrine on two days of the year - Ramses' birthday and the date of his accession to the throne, February 21st and October 21st.

The moving of the temple brick-by-brick to higher ground due to the creation of the artificial lake behind the Aswan dam in the 1960s left each date one day later, so February 22nd is now the best time to see this spectacular sight.

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