National Geographic : 1966 May
GEOGRAPHICART DIVISION (ABOVE) AND KODACHROME© N.G.S. Sunlight "falls like fire from heaven upon the altar at the feet of the Gods," wrote Amelia Edwards, pictured above, who visited Abu Simbel in the 1870's. "It is fine to see the sun rise on the front of the Great Temple; but something still finer takes place on certain mornings of the year, in the very heart of the mountain. As the sun comes up above the ... hill-tops, one long, level beam strikes through the doorway, pierces the inner darkness like an arrow, penetrates to the sanctuary.... "No one who has watched for the coming of that shaft of sunlight can doubt that it was a calculated effect, and that the excavation was directed at one especial angle in order to produce it." When Ramesses' Great Temple has been reassembled beyond the river's grasp, the sun will once again shine full on the figures of the god Amun and the god-king himself each mid-February and mid-October, as it first did some 3,200 years ago.