Explore Egypt Tours is so pleased to present this article for its guests. This article will discuss an amazing phenomenon occurring in Abu Simbel city, Aswan, Egypt. This unique phenomenon is the perpendicular of the sun on the Holy of Holies of the Great Abu Simbel temple. Egypt and its tourists are waiting for this great event occurring twice a year that is considered as evidence of the ancient Egyptians genius.

What is the history of Abu Simbel temples?

Abu Simbel temples were built on the west bank of the Nile River by king Ramesses II during the New kingdom. They are considered as the largest temples carved in the rock in the world. 

They are two temples:

  • The first one is the Great Temple of Ramesses II. It was dedicated to Amun, Re-Harakty, Ptah, and the god Ramesses II. Its façade is decorated with four colossal statues for king Ramesses II and smaller statues for his wives and daughters.
  • The second temple is the Small Temple of Hathor and Nefertari. It was built by Ramesses II. It was dedicated to the goddess Hathor. It is smaller than Ramesses II’s temple. Its façade is decorated with six colossal statues, four presenting Ramesses II and two depicting his beloved wife Nefertari. 

These temples were transferred in the 60s by UNESCO for protection from flood danger during the building of the High Dam.

When does a phenomenon occur?

The sun perpendicular occurs twice a year. It was happening on February 21nd and October 21nd, but after the transferring of these temples by UNESCO, this phenomenon became occurring on February 22nd and October 22nd.

The sun rays reach the Holy of Holies of Abu Simbel temple that has four statues. The sun illuminates only three statues Amun, Re-Harakty, and Ramesses II statue, but the sun does not touch the statue of Ptah because Ptah is the god of darkness in ancient Egyptian mythology. The duration of illumination of the sun on the three statues is 20 minutes during the sunrise.  

What is said about the phenomenon of sun perpendicular?

There are many opinions on this matter such as:

  • The days of the perpendicular refer to the birth and coronation days of king Ramesses II.
  • These days date the sowing and harvest seasons. 

In the end, we are standing in front of a great monument that indicates the ancient Egyptians genius and their experience in both engineering and astronomy.