A 20-year megaproject, the temple of Abu Simbel was completed over 3,000 years ago as a glorious self-tribute of architectural egotism to Ramses II, his wife Nefertari, and the ancient Egyptian gods Ra, Amun and Ptah. An awe-inspiring display of remarkable engineering was the basis on which the temple was built that honored the gods on two special days of the year. February 22nd, the anniversary of Ramses’s ascension to the throne, and October 22nd, his birthday, mark the dates of the bi-annual Sun Festival that has survived the test of time for over 3 millennia. On these days, beams of light slice through the darkness within the depths of the temple to illuminate statues of the gods, except for Ptah, the god of darkness. As such was born the semi-annual celebration that millions have ventured to see, safeguarded by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism to this very day.
Gather amongst energetic crowds of eager travelers to meditate during the serene hours of dawn. As the sun escapes the horizon, make your way to the inner chambers of the temple. Revel in the magnificent spectacle as pillars of light greet the ancient halls once again; a masterpiece of unfathomable proportion marking the beginning of the grand festivities. Enjoy this jubilee of happiness and indulge with the loving locals at the temple’s base. Watch (or even participate in) traditional Nubian dances embellished by the sanguine harmonies of live music. Feast on scrumptious, ‘home-made’ local cuisine that’ll have you asking for seconds and make rounds in the pop-up markets to get your own hand-crafted souvenirs. And when the sun sets, what better way to end the day than to immerse yourself in a fantastic sound and light show against the back-drop of the Abu Simbel temple. A truly unforgettable celebration of life.