Karnak Temple witnessed on Monday a solar alignment phenomenon at its main axis. The phenomenon occurs every year on 21 December, which coincides with the beginning of the winter season.
Director General of Karnak Antiquities and Al-Kebash Road, Mostafa al-Sagheer, explained that this phenomenon reveals the brilliance of the ancient Egyptian civilization as they linked astronomy with architecture in a unique incident that remained for 2,000 years.
The sun rises on the compartment of the sacred boat of Amun Ra which was built by King Philip Arhidaeus, brother of Alexander the Great, which is perpendicular to the main axis of Karnak extending from east to west. The sun rays penetrate the entrances of the edifices from the sixth to the first, as well as the great hall of the masters so that the visitor can see it at the port of Karnak in front of the main facade of the temple.
Egypt always uses the solar alignment incidents to stimulate tourism, introducing the ancient civilization to the world.
The temple of Karnak was known as Ipet-isu—or “most select of places”—by the ancient Egyptians. It is a city of temples built over 2,000 years and dedicated to the Theban triad of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu. The ancient Egyptian temple precinct located on the east bank of the Nile River in Thebes (modern-day Luxor). It covers more than 100 hectares, an area larger than some ancient cities.
Construction at Karnak Temple started by 4,000 years ago and continued up until the time the Romans took control of Egypt, about 2,000 years ago. After Egypt fell under the control of Rome in 30 B.C., work at Karnak petered out, the great monument becoming the magnificent archaeological site it is today.
Al-Sagheer revealed that this year`s event witnessed a large turnout of Egyptian and foreign visitors who were keen to attend to watch the phenomenon, mentioning that strict precautionary measures were taken, including wearing masks and using sterile disinfectants.