Ancient Egyptians civilisation ran along the NileRiver and many of their architectural monuments respected light. Countless oftheir buildings (regularly made by stone due to dry weather eliminating wood asa viable material) were designed around the influence of light; for example,the Old Kingdom contained the appearance of pyramids which were thought toconvey sunrays descending downwards. Consequently, Pyramids are the form whichare common to both Ancient Egyptian civilisation and ancient Maya civilisation;these are often aligned so light gets through to specific locations inside atcertain times of the year. Abu-Simbel is a monumental building in AncientEgyptian civilisation in cooperation with light, discovered in the 1810’s.
Abu-Simbel consists of two temples; these are in Nubia (West Bank of Nile River)1and were built during the reign of Ramesses II in order to celebrate hisvictory in Battle (Battle of Kadesh 1274 BCE)2as well as intimidate the Nubians, therefore it is speculated to have beenbuilt in 1264BCE. On October 22nd and February 22nd, theback wall of Abu-Simbel is lit up through the sun rays penetrating the pyramid(55m deep3);allowing the sanctuary at the back of the pyramid to light up showing thesculptures/statues; one being the statue of the Pharaoh. However, the axis ofthe temple did not illuminate the statue of Ptah, who lived underwater, hence emphasisinghow significant/literal the cooperation of light is to the ancient Egyptians.
Thereasoning for these statues situated within Abu-Simbel is routed in it being abuilding for God hence these sculptures highlight their religious beliefs; furthermore,the dates which the statues are lit up are ‘thought to’ correlate with the ‘king’sbirthday and coronation day’ 4.Ancient Maya civilization (2000 BC- 16THCentury) also respect light; it is a Mesoamerican civilisation and the singularentirely developed civilisation in Mesoamerica regarding written language andarchitecture. Their classic architecture involves temples in form of steep pyramidstypically with a stone tablet situated in front (e.g. Tikal Acropolis). In particularEl Castillo is a monumental building in cooperation with light, situated in theCity of Chichen Itza5.Thispyramid is a temple built between the 8th-13th century6for the God Kukulkan; in total there are 365 steps to the top of the pyramid(equalling the days in a year).
During Spring and Autumn equinoxes, theillusion of serpents ‘running’ or ‘crawling’ down the Northern Balustrade appearsdue to the sun set causing shadows. The function of this is to represent theGod Kukulkan. This cooperation of light is not surprising since the many of theMayans beliefs revolved around celestial events, and in fact El Castillo emphasisesthis through representing the Mayan calendar as a monument. Another building designed to work with light wouldbe the pyramid of the sun; built by Teotihuacan civilisation in 100 AD.
OnAugust 12 and April 29th, the sun sets and the pyramid has beendesigned to be northwest of the horizon point.1www.lifescience.com2 https://www.ancient.eu/Abu_Simbel/3 http://www.ancient-egypt-online.com/abu-simbel.html4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Simbel_temples5www.ducksters,com6 www.wikipedia.com