Luxor witnesses stunning winter sun alignment in Karnak Temple

Hundreds of keen tourists and Egyptians braced the cold breeze to watch the Thursday morning sunrise at the sanctuary of the ancient Egyptian god, Amun Ra, in Luxor’s famed historic Karnak Temple.

Attendees witnessed the sun’s alignment on the Temple of Amun, which is located inside the Karnak Temple.

The Governor of Luxor Mohamed Badr, the Mayor of Luxor City Osama al-Mandawa, and representatives from the tourism sector in Luxor were in attendance for the once-a-year phenomenon.

Attendees watched the sun rise at 5:30 am, and followed the movement of the sun’s rays across the temple until they fell perpendicular at 6:42 am on Amun Ra’s Holy of Holies (the center of the temple, a place in which only the high priest could enter in ancient Egypt).

The phenomenon continued for 20 minutes, before the sun’s rays moved towards the gates of the temple heading west, toward the temple of the fascinating female pharaoh, Hatshepsut.

Ahmed Awad, an Egyptian researcher specializing in the documentation of astronomical phenomena in the temples of ancient Egypt, says the sun falls perpendicular on Amun Ra’s Holy of Holies on the same day every year, a day which marked the beginning of the winter season in ancient Egypt.

The Karnak Temple is one of the most striking and impressive temples built by the rulers of ancient Egypt.

It stands as a historical record of the Egyptian civilization from the 12th Dynasty until the rule of the Ptolemaic Egypt, says the Chairman of the Egyptian Association for Tourism and Archaeological Development, Ayman Abu Zeid.

Abu Zeid seeks to put the phenomenon of the sun’s alignment on the temple’s Holy of Holies on the ministry of tourism’s agenda of events, in order to help spread international and local awareness of the once-a-year event.

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