Tourists flock to Abu Simbel to witness solar phenomenon

Thousands gathered on Friday to witness a unique solar phenomenon that occurs twice yearly at the Abu Simbel Temple south of Aswan.

Aswan Governor Mostafa al-Sayed, head of the General Authority of Palaces Saad Abdel Rahman and around 3,500 tourists were in attendance to witness the early morning sun beam directly perpendicular onto the face of the King Ramses the Second statue inside the temple.

"The phenomenon started at 6:24 am and lasted for 20 minutes, during which the sun reached 60 meters inside the temple, passing by the Columns' Hall and the inner sanctum to fall on the face of the statue of King Ramses the Second," said director general of Abu Simbel monuments Ahmed Saleh.

Saleh said the high attendance heralds a return of normalcy to the tourism sector. Thousands of tourists are keen to attend this event, he added, which happens every year in October and February.

Officials in Aswan set up huge screens in front of the temple so that the overflow of tourists could observe the event.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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