A tourist takes a video while the sun rising behind the Karnak Temple during the alignment of the winter solstice sunrise to the temple in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor, on Dec. 21, 2020. (Xinhua/Str)
LUXOR, Egypt, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of Egyptians and tourists braced the cold breeze to witness on Monday the solstice sunrise at the sanctuary of the ancient Egyptian God, Amun Ra, in Luxor's famous historic Karnak Temple.
Archeologists, officials, and visitors saw the sunrise at 5:30 am (local time) and followed the movement of the Sun's rays penetrating the temple until reflected at 6:42 am (local time) on Amun Ra's Holy of Holies at the center of Karnak.
The phenomenon continued for 20 minutes and then the Sun moved towards the temple of the female pharaoh Hatshepsut.
"The phenomenon has gained the attention of around 120 tourists amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19 who were marveled by the extraordinary knowledge of ancient Egyptians about the science of astronomy," Luxor Governor Mostafa Alham told Xinhua.
The sun rises behind the Karnak Temple during the alignment of the winter solstice sunrise to the temple in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor, on Dec. 21, 2020. (Xinhua/Str)
Strict precautionary measures were taken to secure the safety of the visitors who were very passionate to see the fall of the Sun's rays on Amun Ra's Holy on the same day every year, a day which marked the beginning of the winter season in ancient Egypt, Alham added.
The ceremony has also seen a number of popular folklore dances that represent Luxor heritage, he added, noting that the tourism sector in Luxor was hit sharply by the COVID-19 pandemic, and such events could help in luring more tourists to the country.
The Karnak Temple is one of the most impressive temples built by the rulers of ancient Egypt, dating back from the 12th dynasty until the rule of the Ptolemaic Egypt.
The sun is the dominant god in Ancient Egyptian religion. ■