Celebrate Abu Simbel Temple Sun Festival in Egypt
Abu Simbel Festival
Thousands of tourists gather at 3,200-year-old Egyptian temple of Abu Simbel to watch sun illuminate
The huge statues of the King Ramses the great The 3,200-year-old astronomical ceremony happens twice a year – every February 22 and October 22 – at dawn at Abu Simbel temple on the bank of Lake Nasser in southern Egypt. Abu Simbel temple is hailed as one of the most impressive of Egypt’s ancient monuments and is well-known for its four colossal statues of Ramses II, the sun Gods Re-Horakhte and Amon-Re, and the Theban god of darkness Ptah, the only one who is not lit by the solar alignment.
History of the Temples of Abu Simbel
The temples of Abu Simbel were built by the great King Ramses II in the 19th dynasty, New kingdom
The golden era of ancient Egypt to demonstrate his political control and divine backing to the ancient Nubians tribes who always used to rebel against any new Pharaoh so Ramses II wanted to show his power for these Nubian tribes he built these two temples in southern border of Egypt.
The two temples of Abu Simbel hewn into the sand stone mountain built between 1290 and 1224 BC.
And the two temples of Abu Simbel were discovered in the early 1800s,by a Swiss explorer called John Lewis
except the crown of the statues which is about 24 M high,The two temples now one of the most important UNESCO World Heritage Sites and they had to be relocated in the 1960 s to make way for Lake Nasser, the artificial reservoir of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River.
The Phenomenal Solar Alignment of Abu Simbel
Ramses II built his temple at Abu Simbel so that the internal chamber would light up two times a year: once on the anniversary of his ascension to his throne (in February, around the 22nd), and once on his birthday (in October, around the 22nd). Every year on Abu Simbel temple Sun Festival, crowds gather before sunrise to observe the stream of light gradually sneaking through the stone and enlightening the statues of Ramses, Ra and Amun in the central chamber. Only the statue of God Ptah – the god of darkness – remains in the shade even on these two special days of the year.
Facts About Abu Simbel Temples
The Great Temple of Abu Simbel stands 30 meters high 35 meters long with four seated colossi statues flanking the entrance, two to each side, depicting Rameses II on his throne; each one 20 meters tall. Beneath these giant figures are smaller statues depicting Rameses’ conquered enemies, the Nubian, Libyans, and Hittites. Further statues represent his family members and various protecting gods and symbols of power. Passing between the colossi, through the central entrance, the interior of the temple is decorated with engravings showing Ramesses and Nefertari paying homage to the gods. Rameses’ great victory at Kadesh is also depicted in detail across the north wall of the Hypostyle Hall. According to the scholars Oakes and Gahlin, these engravings of the events surrounding the battle.
The Small Temple of queen Nefrtari her name means the most beautiful one of them, she was the minor wife of king Ramses the great and she was the only one who had a temple by her name.
Nefrtari temple stands nearby the great temple of Ramses at a height of 12 meters and 28 meters long. This temple is also adorned by colossi across the front facade, three on either side of the doorway, depicting Rameses and his queen Nefertari at a height 10 meters. The prestige of the queen is apparent in that, usually, a female is represented on a much smaller scale than the Pharaoh while, at Abu Simbel, Nefertari is rendered the same size as Ramesses. The Small Temple is also notable in that it is the second time in ancient Egyptian history that a ruler dedicated a temple to his wife The walls of this temple are dedicated to images of Rameses and Nefertari making offerings to the gods and to depictions of the goddess Hathor.
Want to experience the Abu Simbel Temple Sun Festival ?
So you have 2 chances every year to witness Ramses Sun Rise and enjoy this incredible festival in Egypt.
The dates are February 22nd October 22nd so to can experience the Sun festival of Abu Simble you should arrange your travel date to be in Egypt at least 2 days before the starting dates of the festival and your tour operator will arrange your visit to the temples.