Solar phenomenon lights up Abu Simbel

The dawn sunlight on Tuesday morning lined up to light up the statue of King Ramses II way inside the Abu Simbel temple in Aswan, southern Egypt.

Solar phenomenon lights up Abu Simbel
The inner sanctuary of Ramesses II temple at Abu Simbel [Credit: Web]
The extraordinary solar phenomenon only occurs twice a year, on 22 October, which marks the birthday of King Ramses II, and on the anniversary of his coronation on 22 February.

On Tuesday, the phenomenon was watched by Egyptian Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou and Aswan governor Mostafa Yousry, as well as ambassadors from Jordan and Uganda, actors Ahmed Bedier and Mai Kassab, and political activists Ahmed Harara and Gamila Ismail.

This year's ceremony took place amid unprecedented security measures.

Egyptologist Ahmed Saleh Abdallah, director-general of the Abu Simbel and Nubia antiquities department, said the lighting of King Ramses' face lasted for 20 minutes and was witnessed by some 2,000 visitors.

He explained that the phenomenon on 22 October coincided with the beginning of the planting season in ancient Egypt, while 22 February occurs on the occasion of the beginning of the harvest season.

Source: Egypt Independent [October 22, 2013]

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