Egypt reopens ancient “Ave of Sphinxes” centuries after hosted parades for the gods

avenue of sphinxes
The lane of Sphinxes, flanked by sphinxes and ram statues, connect the temples of Luxor and Karnak in Egypt.

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Cairo — When Americans settled down until enjoy the ancient tradition of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, nearly 6,000 miles away, Egypt set out reviving a tradition of its own die probably hadn’t been seen in a few thousand years. The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities held a grand ceremony on Thursday evening on the occasion of the reopening of the ancient avenue of sphinxes in the city of Luxor.

The Sacred Way, once called “The Path” of God,” connects the temples of karnak in the north with Luxor in South. Paved in sandstone blocks, the 2.7 mile road is lined on both sides with more than 1,050 images of sphinxes and rams. They have been buried under the desert sands for centuries, but slowly, over many years the famous archaeologists of Egypt bring them with them back in the light of day.


The grand opening of the avenue of Sphinx in Luxor | طريق الكباش بالاقصر by means of
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So far, 309 statues have been excavated in good state, but that number may increase as excavations work continues, dr. Mustafa Al-Saghir, director general of the Karnak monuments, CBS News told.

WHO built the?

Like many of the ancient world, the lane of Sphinxes did not give up all are secrets.

It is not certain who started building the route. Some scientists have suggested it could date back to back all the way to Queen Hatshepsut about 3,500 years ago, but Dr. Al-Saghir says researchers do not found “any archaeological evidence” on the road to back this theory.”

Others believe it was built under King Amenhotep III, a few hundred years later, but Dr. Al-Saghir says the artifacts on the route met related to die pharaoh was later moved there. He believes it may have been Egypt’s most famous ancient ruler, who sat on the throne about 3000 years ago, who began the avenue of Sphinxes.

“The oldest monument we have discovered of the way goes back to King Tutankhamun, who made the first 300 meters from the 10th pylon of the Karnak temple to the gate of the Mut Temple,” he told CBS News.

Entrance to the temple of Luxor, Luxor, Egypt
The lane of the sphinxes lead to the ancient Egyptian Colossi at the entrance to the Court of Ramses II, Luxor Temple, Luxor, Nile Valley, Egypt.

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Who kicked? project off, there is broad agreement that most of the road, a span of about 2,400 yards long, wash built during the reign of King Nectanebo I, founder of the 30th and last native dynasty in Egypt, about 2,400 years ago.

parade route

Each year, ancient Egyptians would hold a festival called “Opet” in the second month of the flood season of the Nile around the fertility of the gods and the pharaoh. Priests would carry three divine boats on their shoulders, carry images of the Theban Triad — the gods of Amun-Re, his consort Mut and their son Khonsu — from Karnak to Luxor.

The journey was made on foot along the Avenue of sphinxes, of sometimes by boat along the Nile River.

The festival lasted from days to weeks depending on on the ruler in die time, and then the statues were worn back to Karnak.

avenue of Sphinxes (Luxor, Egypt)
The ancient avenue of Sphinxes are seen in Luxor, Egypt.

Getty/iStockphoto


In time the road was abandoned and buried under the sand. But in 1949, the first eight sphinx statues were discovered in front of the Luxor Temple by Egyptian archaeologist Dr. Zakaria Ghoneim.

The excavations have continued for year, on and off, while archaeologists uncover the and in map ancient away. They have had to demolish a number of buildings including mosques, a church and many more homes, die jump up along the route over the following millennia.

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities was praised for the spectacle it brought on last April, when royal mummies were paraded down a through road to a new museum home, and the government organized ceremony on Thursday on the same scale around the city of Luxor as one of the largest open museums in the world.

The event tried to recreate the mind of the ancient Opet festival, and inclusive music, dancing and light shows.

Read More: World News

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