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Sun-Earth Day Presents: Ancient Observatories, Timeless Knowledge

Abu Simbel

The original temple was positioned on the bank of the Nile, but it was raised up 300 meters by an international relocation project supported by UNESCO between 1964 and 1968 to prevent the flooding of the temple by the rising waters of Lake Nasser caused by the new Aswan High Dam.


Egypt, 250 kilometers southeast of Aswan.
Latitude 22d 20U.22 North
Longitude 31c 36U.97 East


It was built by Rameses II between 1279 and 1213 B.C to celebrate his domination of Nubia, and his piety to the gods, principally Amun-Re, Ra-Horakhty and Ptah, as well as his own deification.


The interior of the temple is inside the sandstone cliff in the form of a man-made cave cut out of the rock. It consists of a series of halls and rooms extending back a total of 185 feet from the entrance.

As you walk to the rear of the temple you come to the Holiest of Holies located at the back wall, where you will find four statues of: Ra-Harakhte, Ptah, Amun-Ra and King Ramses II. This temple is unique, since the sun shines directly on the Holiest of Holies two days a year: February 21, the king's birthday, and October 22, the date of his coronation.


Image Gallery:

Abu Simbel gallery image

Photo Credit:

Graphics Catalog of Images:
Jay Friedlander

Technology Through Time Bulletin Board Activity

This bulletin board activity is designed to focus student attention on the role that sun watching has played in humankind's survival through time. As part of this display you may wish to use your own world map ordownload one we have created for you.

Related Abu Simbel Links

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