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Abu Simbel Festival

by JCarrion Online Now Nov 19, 2003 at 9:03 PM

Has anyone travled to Abu Simbel for the February 22 or October 22 festivals? I would like to hear about your experience, pros and cons. Is it possible to be inside the temple to witness the penetrating sun rays, or will there simply be way too many people trying to crowd in. I will be travelling there with my wife and son (who will be almost two years old). Do you know of any potential issues with traveling with a youn child? Thank you for your response.

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  • vdoortje's Profile Photo

    Re: Abu Simbel Festival

    by vdoortje Online Now Nov 20, 2003 at 4:41 AM

    I haven't been to Abu Simbel during one of those days, but someone I know did. So here I will give you her description of the event: "I’d timed my trip so that when in Aswan I could visit Abu Simbel for the special Sunrise Celebration on 22 October. This is a very special event that only occurs twice a year, when the early morning sun’s rays penetrate deep inside the temple’s innermost sanctuary to illuminate the statues therein. A synopsis: “The sanctuary contains rock-cut sculptures of 4 seated figures: Re-Harakhti, the deified Ramses II, and the gods Amun-Re and Ptah. Re-Harakhti, Amun-Re and Ptah were the main divinities in that period and their cult centers were at Heliopolis, Thebes and Memphis respectively. The axis of the temple was positioned by the ancient Egyptian architects so that twice a year the rays of the sun would penetrate the sanctuary and illuminate the sculptures on the back wall, except for the statue of Ptah, the god connected with the Underworld, who always remained in the dark. The image of the king was thus enhanced and revitalized by the energy of the solar star, and the deified Ramses could take his place next to Amun-Re and Re-Harakhti.” I’ve long wanted to experience this event, and it was worth the wait. Of course there were huge crowds there (the convoy from Aswan contained 182 vehicles!!) and only the first hundred or so arrivals were able to fit inside the temple itself to witness the phenomenon; however thanks to the wonders of modern technology the entire process was projected onto a huge screen outside the entrance of the temple for the rest of us to enjoy." I hope this will be enough information to make up your mind. Love, Dora.

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  • Re: Re: Abu Simbel Festival

    by JCarrion Online Now Nov 20, 2003 at 7:24 AM

    Thanks Dora for your very helpful reply to my message. Sounds like I will have to camp out all night just to get inside the temple and be one of the lucky one hundred. Peace and Love James

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  • vdoortje's Profile Photo

    Re: Re: Abu Simbel Festival

    by vdoortje Online Now Nov 20, 2003 at 11:03 AM

    Can be done, James!! Just arrive the day before and overnight in one of the hotels there. Or even better take a cruise over Lake Nasser from Aswan to Abu Simbel. That is something that is still on my wish list!! About your other question about going to Egypt with a two year old??? I think it will ask a lot of your imagination!! Lots of nice things to do with a child as young as this. Take a coach ride or a felluca. Maybe a camel ride. But I don't think the kid will be pleased when dragged into one temple after another!! They will look all the same! The trip to Abu Simble will take at least three hours by car from Aswan. My kids are grown up right now, but I still have nightmares of long trips with them in the back of the car! In Cairo there are nice things to do with young children. Dream Park and the Pharaonic village. There is also a small Zoo!! Cairo Tower could be nice!! Great views and a rotating restaurant. Khan el Khalili is an experience to both kids and adults. And Egyptian people just love kids!! The Red Sea coast could be great for kids, like being on the shore. But I never been there. Perhaps others can be of more help. I hope I didn´t scare you of! Egypt is such a beautiful country!! And the kids there are breathtaking! Love, Dora.

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    Re: Re: Abu Simbel Festival

    by vdoortje Online Now Nov 20, 2003 at 11:24 AM

    And, James, Maybe it is worth to stay in Abu Simble over night. I have heard they have a great sound and light show there!! Only being seen by the few that come by boat or stay there in a hotel. Egypt has 4 sound and light shows!! 1. Pyramids Area!!! Great!!! I have seen it a few weeks ago sitting on a nice terrace with a cup of hot and strong coffee!! 2. Karnak Temple! Breath taking!! The great hypostile hall of Ramses II is so beautiful when walking through it at night and being highlighted!! I saw it in the beginning of this year! 3. Philae Temple near Aswan. Even the boat trip when going to the Island is an event! Just imagine being on the boat approaching that small island with the temple being high lighted!! And then, arriving there, you will enter the Temple and the whole story of Isis and Osiris will come to life! I was there last year! This year I visited the temple during day time! And, to my idea, it is the most enchanting spot of Egypt. 4, Abu Simbel. That should be something special!! It takes quite an effort to se this sound and light!! Only being seen when staying over for the night or by cruise. I told you that still is on my wish list! The sound and lights are great!! Even your kid will like it!! It is like a comic book coming to life! And being there at the spot.......... I can´t get enough of it!! Love, Dora.

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  • Re: Re: Abu Simbel Festival

    by JCarrion Online Now Nov 22, 2003 at 6:31 AM

    Wow Dora, you are an absolute encyclopaedia of Egyptian travel knowledge. Thanks soooo much for all your insights and tips. I hope that our travels are easy with our child. We have some friends who took their two year old son with them to Spain and the Canary Islands and they said he was a dream to travel with. I know all kids are not created equally so we will have to see how our travel experience pans out. Again, you are wonderful for taking the time to write such helpful info. I wish you much joy and happiness. Love and Peace, James

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