Rams Road, also known as Sphinx Street, witnessed a long development journey that began 72 years ago with the discovery of the road by Egyptian archaeologists, and efforts intensified in the past three years to complete the development and restoration processes.
There are many sights in the city, but the Sphinx Street is undoubtedly one of the “must see” attractions. This is part of the huge Karnak Temple complex that runs along the east bank of the river. Pharaoh Sesostris I began the complex during the “Middle Kingdom” period, but developed regularly throughout the Ptolemaic period, the last of the Pharaonic period.
Sphinx Street extends for about 2,700 meters between the Karnak and Luxor temples. There is evidence that Queen Hatshepsut of the Eighteenth Dynasty was the first to construct this procession route, complete with a sphinx that resembles it. The sphinx-lined street between the tenth pylon of the Karnak temple and the Mut temple area, as well as to the south of the Khonsu temple at Karnak, was established by Amenhotep III. The project was then suspended during the reign of Akhenaten, but King Tutankhamun resumed the project, although subsequent kings had usurped, changed and moved many times.
The first stages of Sphinx Street, which included the construction of seven chapels, began during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut. Unfortunately, none of the chapels still stand today. Pharaoh Nectanebo I chose to expand the original complex a few years later and built a 2.7-kilometre “path” lined with hundreds of stone sphinxes. Some sphinxes have ram heads instead of the head of a normal human, which is a unique feature.
While one might expect that a large and important landmark such as the Sphinx Street will always be visible, it has been overwhelmed and hidden by the constant urban growth of Luxor. Fortunately, the Egyptian government stated in late 2011 that Sphinx Street had been restored and that it would reopen to the public in an official ceremony.
Egypt reopens 3,000-year-old Sphinx Street at Luxor Grand Ceremony
Luxor returned to the spotlight on Thursday, November 25, with a detailed parade to celebrate the reopening of Sphinx Street after years of painstaking restoration, and after decades of excavations, Egypt inaugurated a 3,000-year-old street. The Great Sphinx is shown to the public at a lavish celebration in the southern city of Luxor. The ancient trail, about two miles long and 250 feet wide, was formerly known as “God’s Way.” Connecting the Luxor Temple with the Karnak Temple located just north of the Nile, an astonishing procession took place along the road that is flanked on both sides by more than 600 statues with a ram’s head and typical sphinxes. Statues with a lion’s body and a human head, started after dark in Egypt and ended around midday ET.
The stunning parade featured pharaonic costumes, a symphony orchestra, light effects, professional dancers, indigo boats, horse-drawn carriages, and more. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was present at the citywide event. For centuries, the road was buried under sand until Egyptian archaeologist Zakaria Ghoneim discovered the first eight sphinxes in front of the Luxor Temple in 1949.
Attempt to excavate and repair the site continued over the next seven decades, but was frequently disrupted by political turmoil, such as the 2011 Arab Spring movement that toppled Egypt’s longtime autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak and sparked years of civil strife.
Egypt hosted a lavish party marking the opening of the Sphinx Street, a historic 1.7-mile road linking Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple, in a bid to dazzle and entice tourists once again after the COVID-19 outbreak caused chaos in the region. The main tourism business in the country.
This is the second such event in six months, after Egypt hosted a “royal procession” in April to display 22 mummies through the streets of Cairo on their way to a newly opened museum. Officials said that the event aims to highlight the antiquities-rich city of Luxor that was once the capital of Egypt, which was then known as Thebes, as the “largest open-air museum in the world”, in the presence of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and his wife. .
Before the event, Luxor tour guide Ahmed Hammam told NBC News, “I will witness tonight one of the greatest events of my life.” Watching the restoration of Sphinx Street after years of struggle was a “dream” for Hammam, 47.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, the entire length of the path, as well as all the temples located along it, will be open to visitors for free the day after the march.
“This procession will be nothing short of amazing,” said restoration supervisor Dr. Mustafa al-Saghir. “We expect him to beat the procession of royal mummies,” he told The National in April, referring to the procession of 22 ancient Egyptian mummies from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.
From 2005 to 2011, Hawass worked on the restoration of Sphinx Street until it was stopped due to the uprising. He said that the festival on Thursday sends a strong message to the world, saying: “Egypt is safe, and we invite everyone to return to Egypt.”
Sisi, 63, was re-elected to a second four-year term in 2018 after leading the military ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected president in 2013.
He has worked hard to restore peace to a vital US ally and bring tourism dollars back into the country, which has been hit hardest by the Covid-19 outbreak. Opponents, activists and independent media, according to critics, have been silenced as a result of his actions.
Sherif Khalil is the owner of Dunes & Beyond. Dunes & Beyond offers luxury tours, Nile cruises, and desert safaris in Egypt.
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