Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II, has his scuptures, build the temple out of sandstone around 1250 BC. And using his knowledge of the sun, alligned it so that the sun shined on his statue 60 meters into the temple, only on the day he was born and the day he became king. The Sun god was very important to the ancient Egyptians, so careful planning had to be done to make sure everything was aligned.
To get to Abu Simbel is an adventure in itself. A convoy of vehicles meet at a departure spot in Aswan at 12am. Then all travel together at top speed across the open desert, accompanied by military escort. Each bus accompanied by an armed officer. The section of road while controlled by the military has been dangerous in the past. With buses been ambushed, by terrorist groups. The trip takes three hours to arrive at Abu Simbel, which lies on the shores of Lake Nasser, near the border of Sudan. While most days the convoy leaves at 4am, today we must arrive before sunrise.
It is one of the most dramatic sunrises I have ever experienced.