The sight of the sun falling perpendicular on the palace of template of Amoun Ra’ in Luxor - Archive
CAIRO – 20 June 2018: The sun will set from the western gate of the Karnak Temple on June 21, which marks the rare astronomical phenomenon of summer solstice.
Ahmed Abdelkader, a researcher specialized in astronomical tourism, told MENA that sun rays will disappear gradually from the temple’s complex starting 6 p.m.until the Holy of Holies is darkened.
The event marks the beginning of summer solstice, an astronomical event marking the longest day and the shortest night of the year.
He remarked that ancient Egyptians considered the first day of the first summer’s month a feast and a day to fast; the priests and religious people used to refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset, and they spent the night reciting hymns and prayers.
“The phenomenon is one of the most important events that should be utilized to revive tourism and spread knowledge about the ancient Egyptian civilization,” said AbdelKader, adding that it is a proof of how ancient Egyptians were worldwide pioneers in the field of astronomy.
This astronomical phenomenon happens twice a year to mark the summer and winter solstices.
The winter solstice is an annual two-hour event, starting at 6 a.m., and it marks the first day of winter, as per the outstanding progressive knowledge of the ancient Egyptians.
Every year, attendees come to watch the sunlight as it falls perfectly perpendicular on the sanctuary of AmunRa’a at the center of the temple; the sun rays then move towards the temple’s gates to reach Hatshepsut’s ancient temple.