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13/36.- Abu Simbel, Abu Simbel Temple, gods' statues

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61 meters inside the mountain sits the sanctuary. Famous because on 22 February and 22 October the first sun rays of the day illuminate the statues of Ramses II, Amon Ra (the sun god), and Ra-Harakhty (god of the rising sun), leaving Ptah (god of the underworld and darkness) in the dark. The photo you see was taken on March 22nd, the sun is illuminating part of the statue of Ptah (far left), but you can imagine what it looks like on Feb 22 and Oct 22.

When the temple was moved, experts calculated the exact position and orientation to reconstruct it, so that the twice-yearly event could take place for some millenniums more.

On these two special dates a festival takes place to celebrate the event. This festival not only recalls the ancient Egypt religion, but the Nubian culture. Nubians, who used to live in the area flooded by the Aswan's High Dam, consider Abu Simbel the heart of his lost land and meet here twice a year to remember it.

 

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