In Ancient Egypt, the Great Temple atAbu-Simbel on the banks of Lake Nasser in Nubia was designed so that upon the 22ndFebruary and the 22nd October three of the four statues of the Godsat the back of the temple would be illuminated. Due to the relocation of thetemple in 1964 and the drift of the Topic of Cancer, the dates of this eventare now 21st February and 21st October. The statues arethe incarnations of Ra, Amun (morning), Ra-Horakhty (day), Rameses himself, andthe one which is never in the light is Ptah, God of the Underworld and theevening. The temple was built in the reign of Rameses II, in 13thcentury BC, and it is widely believed that the dates in question weresignificant to Rameses rule, perhaps the dates of his coronation and birthday.
It is one of two temples at the site, the second and smaller of the twodedicated to Nefertiti, Rameses chief consort, and Hathor, the goddess offertility. The Mayan temple designed to playwith light was El Castillo, the Temple of Kukulkan. It was built in what is nowthe Mexican state of Yucatán sometime in 8th to 12thcentury, towards the end of the Mayan civilization. The temple has total 365 steps, 91 on eachside and the top one, supporting the theory that the temple was a physicalrepresentation of the Mayan calendar. It was dedicated to the feathered serpentgod Kukulkan, the messenger between the king and the gods and symbol of thedivinity of the state. Statues of plumed serpents run down the sides of thenorthern balustrade, and on the equinoxes the late afternoon sunlight castsshadows of Kukulkan crawling up the pyramid, as if to communicate with the gods. Another monumental constructiondesigned to work with light was the 17-arch bridge (Shiqikong Qiao in Chinese)in the Gardens of the Summer Palace in Beijing.
Its beauty varies throughoutthe seasons, but its most impressive moments are when it is lit from behind atdusk, and the light perfectly illuminates the interior of the arches beneath.This means when the royal family were wandering the gardens, they would be ableto see the greatest wonder of the bridge. It was built during the QianlongReign (1736-1795).