Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Avenue of Sphinxes back to its ancient appearance - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

Avenue of Sphinxes back to its ancient appearance - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online: "After five years of hard work, the avenue of Sphinxes has been reincarnated into its original form, inviting Luxor’s visitors to walk along the historical avenue as the ancient Egyptians did in the days of the Pharaohs.

To celebrate the restoration, said Mansour Boreik, director of Luxor monuments, the ministry of state for antiquities (MSA) is organizing a special inauguration ceremony on October at the avenue. Sound and Light Company is installing a special lamp to light the avenue and showcase the distinguished artistic beauty of its sphinxes, as well as the monuments that were unearthed during the route’s development project, including Greco-Roman workshops and wine factories.

The 2,700 metre long avenue of sphinxes was built during the reign of Pharaoh Nectanebo I of the 30th dynasty. It replaced one built in the 18th dynasty, by Queen Hatshepsut (1502-1482 BC), as recorded on the walls of her red chapel in Karnak Temple.

Sadly, however, over the span of history the avenue was lost, subjected to destruction and some of its sphinxes destroyed, as sections of the avenue far from both temples were covered with sand and buried under random housing.

Within the framework of the MSA programme to restore ancient Egyptian monuments with a view to developing the entire Luxor governorate into an open-air museum, a project was planned to recover the lost elements of the avenue, restore the sphinxes and return the site to the splendor it enjoyed in ancient Egypt.

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Anonymous said...

When I was at Luxor temple, I saw the avenue of sphinxes and of course took pictures, but I did this while the guide was off buying the tickets, after which we toured the temple. There wasn't even time to walk the few hundred feet of the avenue that existed then. Now they've got 2.7 km (1.6 mi) of the avenue cleared. Does anybody really expect tourists will want to walk this distance rather than take a bus between the temples? I'm just not seeing that happening and am wondering if it was worth the money and effort and kicking people out of their homes and businesses?

Donald Clark said...

I disagree. As the avenue was uncovered I've walked it several times. It's fascinating, especially at night, and in following the ancient processional route, the experience is greater than the sum of its parts. It turns Luxor into a truly memorable, unified place, rather than just Luxor Temple and a trip out to Karnak.