Great Temple of Ramesses II, Abu Simbel, Egypt

Large seated statues in front of the Great Temple of Ramesses II in Abu Simbel, Egypt

At the heart of the Great Temple of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel in Egypt stand four statues. Three are the ancient Egyptian gods Ra-Horakhty, Amun Ra and Ptah. The fourth is Ramesses II, an Egyptian Pharaoh who considered himself a god. Each year on 21st February and 21st October, believed to be Ramesses II's birthday and coronation day respectively, the sun would shine directly into the inner sanctum of the temple and illuminate three of these statues. Ptah, the god of darkness, remained in shadow. When the Aswan Dam was built, the temple was moved to higher ground to avoid the rising waters.  Since the temple's relocation in 1964, the events now occur one day later on 22nd February and 22nd October respectively.

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