A celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the salvation of the iconic Abu Simbel Temples is being held on Feb. 21 and 22 at the historic site in southern Egypt's Abu Simbel.
The celebration, which is being organized by the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry, coincides with the timing of the site's world-famous solar phenomenon that occurs twice a year.
On Oct. 21 and Feb 21 of each year, the sun shines directly into the sanctuary of The Great Temple illuminating the statues of Ramesses II and Amun, while keeping the statue of Ptah in the dark.
The celebration will include opening a special exhibition titled "Abu Simbel in the Eyes of the Artists" at the archaeological area. It will showcase paintings depicting the temple, the works of artists who are participating in a week-long artistic symposium.
However, the week's celebratory activities will only be the beginning of a campaign commemorating the salvation's golden jubilee, which will continue until 2018.
The Abu Simbel complex consists of two massive temples, The Great Temple and The Small Temple, which were originally cut into a rock cliff.
The temples, two of the grandest and most beautiful monuments in ancient Egyptian history, were built during the reign of Ramesses II to honor his conquests and victories.
The Abu Simbel temples came to be under the threat of submersion during the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s, which led to the creation of the artificial water reservoir Lake Nasser.
An international salvage operation, which involved 50 countries and lasted between 1964-1968, came together under the initiative and supervision of UNESCO to save the temple complex from the Nile's waters.
The two temples were entirely dismantled and moved to a new location, which is 65 meters higher than the original one. There, they were reassembled into an artificial hill in a way that retained their original orientation, which allowed for the continuation of the prominent solar phenomenon.
The operation was part of a wider UNESCO campaign that saved many of Nubia's other ancient monuments from flooding through relocation, including the Philae temple complex that is now located on the Nile's Agilkia Island.
The salvation of the Abu Simbel temple complex, which further cemented its iconic status, is still considered one of the most challenging archaeological undertakings in history.