To mark the unique phenomenon of the sun penetrating the full length of the rock-hewn Abu Simbel temple, south of Aswan, to light the face of the Pharaoh Ramses II (1279-1213 BC), a celebration was held last Friday 21 October by the General Authority for Cultural Palaces headed by Sayed Khattab. The phenomenon occurs twice every year after sunrise, on 22 October and 22 February. The first date marks the Pharaoh’s birthday; the second his ascension to the throne. Ramses II was one of the greatest kings who ruled Egypt.
The recent celebration was attended by Culture Minister Helmy al-Namnam, Antiquities Minister Khaled Anany, and Moushira Khattab, Egypt’s nominee for UNESCO director-general, and Aswan governor Magdi Hegazi. It featured a number of shows performed by folkloricgroups from Luxor, Aswan, Qena, and Sohag, as well as a sound and light show.
It closed with the play He built a temple for love directed by Osama Abdel-Ra’ouf and written by Ahmed Abu-Kheneiger, and performed by the Aswan group for theatrical arts.
In 1968, through a UNESCO international project, the temples of Abu Simbel were dismantled and lifted from their original site which was later submerged under Lake Nasser, the water reservoir upstream the Aswan High Dam, to their present site where they were reassembled. On UNESCO website, the recue is dubbed “the greatest archaeological rescue operation of all time”.
23 October 2016