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Abu Simbel Sun Festival

The inner sanctum of the temple remains in darkness throughout the year and sees the stream of natural sunlight only twice a year


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The Sun Temple in Abu Simbel is a magnificent structure of the Pharaohs of Egypt. Twice a year it becomes the venue for the Sun Festival—on the 22nd of February and exactly eight months later, on the 22nd of October. The sun’s rays illuminate the inner sanctum of the temple on these days. This incredible phenomenon gives a spectacular sight: the light which streams into the complex reflects on the statue of Ramses II and the Sun God’s seated statues illuminating the entire place highlighting the brilliant architecture. It’s interesting, but the sun illuminates statues of Amun-Re, Re-Herakhte, and Ramses the god, whilst the statue of Ptah, the god of darkness, remains in the shadows. From early morning crowds of people assemble into the temple to watch the sunrise as it slowly creeps through the inner Hypostyle Hall and through to the sanctuary. Tourists from all across come to the much-celebrated Sun Festival. This unusual phenomenon proves the immense knowledge of astronomy and technology that ancient Egyptians applied for making such a construction.

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