Egypt unveils renovated Avenue of the Sphinxes in Luxor

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Updated 3 hours, 29 minutes ago

Luxor, Egypt (AP) – Egyptian authorities on Thursday unveiled an ancient, renovated 3,000-year-old promenade in the city of Luxor, the latest government project undertaken to showcase the country’s archaeological treasures.

Egypt has struggled to revive its tourism industry, battered by years of political turmoil following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, and more recently the coronavirus pandemic.

The ancient gateway – known as the Avenue of the Sphinxes, but also known as the Way of the Rams and the Path of the Gods – connects the famous temples of Karnak and Luxor in what was the city of Thebes, which was the capital. of Egypt in antiquity. It is believed that this was the path taken by pilgrims to visit temples and pay homage to their deities.

Lined with statues of rams and sphinxes on pedestals, the ancient road to Luxor, which sits on the banks of the Nile and is located about 650 kilometers (400 miles) south of Cairo, stretches for several miles and had been excavated for over 50 years.

President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi attended the TV-designed event, a late-night ceremony reminiscent of a former fall celebration, along with other senior officials.

Mohamed Abd el-Badei, a senior official in Egyptian archeology, said the oldest ruins along the trail are six structures built by Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt’s only female pharaoh, dating from 1400 BC.

He said that from the hieroglyphics on the walls of one of the temples, the ancient feast was known as “Opet” and was marked by parades and dancers celebrating the bounty that the annual floods of the Nile brought to the fields. There was also a flotilla of sacred boats heading for the temple, according to the transcripts.

Thursday’s event is the second glitzy ceremony this year to honor Egyptian heritage. In April, the government held a procession to mark the transfer of some of the famous mummies from the Egyptian Museum in downtown Cairo to the newly built museum south of the Egyptian capital.

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