Sunday, February 24, 2008

Light on Ramesses at Abu Simbel

Egypt State Information Service

It's that time of year again:

Some 7,000 tourists and Egyptians witnessed Friday 22/2/2008 the phenomenon of the sun falling perpendicular on the face of Ramses II statue in Abu Simbel temple, south Egypt.

Happening twice a year, the first rays of the rising sun reach 60 meters into the sacred inner sanctuary of the temple in Abu Simbel on February 22 and October 22 to illuminate the back wall of the innermost shrine and the statues of the gods seated there.

For twenty-four minutes, the sun shines on the statues of Ramses II, Amon Ra (the sun god), and Ra-Harakhtye, god of the rising sun.

Ptah, god of the netherworld and darkness, seated at the far left of the row of gods, remains dark on these occasions.

The Abu Simbel temple was cut into rock in the 13th century B.C. by the famous pharaoh Ramses II in honor of himself and the triad Amon-Ra, Ptah and Ra-Harakhte, together with a smaller temple dedicated to Ramses' wife Nefertari and the goddess Hathor.

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