The Abu Simbel sun festival takes place on Friday the 22nd of October. It is a spectacular phenomenon which has been occurring since 1250 BC and is the combination of clever human architecture and a natural phenomenon.
When Pharaoh Ramses II built the temple at Abu Simbel by carving it out of the limestone cliff he angled it carefully so that when the sun hit at a precise point, the inside of the temple would light up. This phenomenon takes place twice a year, on what historians assume are the days of his birthday and on the day that he was made Pharaoh.
During the festival, crowds gather outside the temple and wait for the sun to come up to see the light hit the stone which illuminates the statues of Ramses, Ra and Amun, but leaving Ptah, the god of the underworld in the darkness. After the spectacle there's an atmosphere of celebration, as there is music, dancing, food, drinking and markets.
The Sun Festival is a great occasion to plan a Nile Cruise around, not many people get to see the phenomenon in their lifetimes, and the atmosphere of celebration and festival will make for an unforgettable and awe inspiring experience that you will not regret going along to.