5 May 2008

Nubian Monuments - Egypt

Stamp from Egypt issued in 1995 (SG 1967), depicting the statues of the innermost shrine in Ramses II's temple at Abu Simbel.

The temple was precisely oriented so that on two days a year, in February and October, the first rays of the morning sun would shine down the entire length of the temple to illuminate the back of the shrine. Following the move to higher ground, it is believed that these events now take place a few days later than originally intended.

On these occasions, the sun shines for 20 minutes on the holy seated statues of Ramses II, Amun-Ra (the sun god) and Ra-Horakhty (the god of the rising sun). Ptah - the statue on the far left - god of the underworld and darkness, remains in the dark.

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