Egypt celebrates reopening 3,400-year-old Avenue of the Sphinxes

Luxor, Egypt — A restored road connecting two ancient Egyptian temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor was unveiled Thursday in a lavish ceremony to raise the profile of one of Egypt’s top tourist attractions.
The procession to reopen the 2.7-kilometer road included a reenactment of the ancient Opet festival, where statues of Theban deities were paraded annually during the New Kingdom era to celebrate the fertility and flooding of the Nile .

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi marched along the road at the start of the ceremony. Pharaonic chariots and more than 400 young performers dressed in pharaonic costumes paraded along the avenue.

Visitors walk past the statues of the ancient Egyptian New Kingdom pharaoh Ramesses II at night.

Visitors walk past the statues of the ancient Egyptian New Kingdom pharaoh Ramesses II at night.

Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images Getty Images

The 3,400-year-old road connecting the ancient centers of Karnak and Luxor, also known as the Road of the Rams or the Avenue of the Sphinxes, is dotted with hundreds of ram- and man-headed sphinxes, although many have been added over the years. eroded or destroyed.

The road has undergone several restoration efforts since its discovery in 1949, with the last one started in 2017.

A view of the human-headed sphinxes along the 2,700m road leading from Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple.

A view of the human-headed sphinxes along the 2,700m road leading from Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple.

Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Tourism is a crucial source of jobs and hard currency for Egypt, which has made a concerted effort to lure back the travelers kept away by the coronavirus pandemic.

In April, 22 ancient royal mummies from Luxor and the nearby Valley of the Kings were carried in procession. Egyptian mummies paraded from Cairo’s Egyptian Museum to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

Egypt’s tourism revenues have fallen to about $4 billion in 2020, from $13 billion in 2019.

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