Image Copyright Mark Millmore
Used with permission
The worship of the Egyptian sun god Ra dates back to the Old Kingdom, circa 2700 to 2200 BCE and possibly even to pre-dynastic times. The ancient city of Iunu, later known as Heliopolis and now lost under modern Cairo, was the centre of this sun worship. During the Fifth Dynasty, circa 2498 to 2395 BCE, five sun temples were constructed and dedicated to Ra. The only significant remains of these are the ruins of the Sun Temple at Niuserre at Abu Ghurab, near Abusir. It was named 'Delight of Ra' or 'Ra's Pleasance'.
Very different from the later, more familiar enclosed temples such as those found in Karnak which often featured a stylised starry sky on their ceilings, the Fifth Dynasty Sun Temples were open to the sky. The central focus of the Sun Temples was a huge, squat obelisk, fronted by an altar and huge stone bowls for receiving offerings of grains and meat.
Image copyright Mark Millmore.
I like the openness of the Sun Temples and their connection to the heavens is that much more immediate.
In chapter two Daniel refers to Cleopatra's Needle. It's not this one...
Nor is it this one...
It's this one...!
Standing in Central Park, New York City, behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the inspiration for the museum where Daniel's parents were killed).
The author prefers the Paris Needle. It's cleaner, has its gold capstone, and it's the only one she's actually seen.