Thursday, February 19, 2015
News: Abu Simbel Sun Alignment Celebration Canceled for Mourning Period
CAIRO: Celebrations of the biannual phenomenon of solar alignment over the Abu Simbel temples in Aswan has been canceled as part of a seven-day mourning in Egypt after 21 Egyptians were killed in Libya Sunday, Aswan governor Mostafa Youssry stated. The celebration was scheduled to be held Feb. 22.
Youssry expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Egyptian people for their grave loss, describing the incident as a “barbaric and an horrendous act of terrorism that is not to be blamed on any religion or philosophy and contradicts the simplest of human values.”
Egypt struck Islamic State group targets in Libya Monday, shortly after President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi vowed revenge for the release of a gruesome video posted Sunday by the militant group in Libya showing the beheadings of 21 Coptic Egyptian hostages. Sisi also announced a seven-day mourning period starting Sunday.
Abu Simbel temples date back to the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II (1293-1224 B.C.) and were built and aligned in such a way that the sun’s rays fall perpendicularly to illuminate Ramses II’s seated statue in the temple’s shrine. It is a rare astronomical and engineering phenomenon that happens twice a year; on Feb. 22, the day he ascended to the throne, and Oct. 22, his birthday.