Thursday, November 25, 2021

Egypt revives the ancient Avenue of Sphinxes in Luxor tonight

In case you do not know, Egypt is on a date on another glitzy ancient Egyptian inspired parade in a few hours.

The avenue of the Sphinxes on 24 November's night "Ahmed Gomaa"

The 1.7-mile-long and about 250-feet-wide-Sphinxes Avenue connect the Luxor temple complex and the Karnak temple complex. According to historical accounts, the current surviving sphinxes avenue was built by King Nectanebo I, the founder of Egypt’s last native ruling dynasty aka the 30th dynasty in the late period.

Egypt's Luxor Temples Complex
The Avenue of Sphinxes in 2012

According to archaeologists, most of the sphinxes or rams statues in the avenues have been restored. They are over 1,000 statues. We got four of them in Tahrir square despite the objections of the archaeologists. I wonder why we do not put them back where they belong.

It is said that the face of the sphinxes depicted Nectanebo I in accordance with the famous ancient Egyptian tradition that started in the old kingdom.

The trip to revive the avenue was long starting from year 1984 to 2000 thanks to Egyptian archaeologists then the plan to restore it kicked off in the year 2009 then was stopped for a while in 2011 then it was resumed later till we see right now.

The big party: Reviving the Opet Festival

The re-inauguration of the ancient avenue will mainly depend on reviving the ancient Egyptian Opet festival which involves the Theban triad then aka deities Amun, Mut and Khensu. In ancient Egypt, the priests used to go on a procession from Karnak to Luxor temple through the avenues carrying wooden shrines of the three deities on barques.

The Avenue of Sphinxes at night in on 24 November  "Experience Egypt"
The Avenue of Sphinxes at night in on 24 November 
"Experience Egypt" 

I think there will be a show involving ancient Egyptian boats on the Nile.

According to news reports, there will be balloons shown in the sky of Luxor as well as dancing parades along with Luxor too. Egypt’s Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Maestro Nader Abbassi is part of the show. “Wait for some Ancient Egyptian hymn”

400 people are participating in the big event.

The big event is produced by Media Hub “Saadi/Gohar”, the same producer of the Golden Pharaohs Parade. Saadi/Gohar is another subsidiary of the United Media Service “UMS”.

Following the success of the Golden Pharaohs Parade in April, the Egyptian government encourage to go on with that parade in the same in hope of reviving tourism following the coronavirus pandemic.

I read already news reports saying that for the first time in ten years ago, hotels are fully occupied in Luxor on Wednesday.

It is unclear how much this new celebration will cost.

The avenue of sphinxes from the Rams part in 1864 by Antonio Beato
The avenue of sphinxes from the Rams part in 1864 by Antonio Beato

The revival of that ancient Avenue was not cheap either and I am not speaking in a financial matter as this area between the Temples of Luxor and Karnak used to host residential buildings of locals who lived there for hundreds of years in addition to an old church and mosques.

The locals were evicted, and the buildings were demolished so the ancient avenue can resurface back. It was not a smooth operation because there were some clashes from a couple of years ago but in the end, the plans to revive the Avenue did not stop.

I hope that those locals were compensated well. I hope that the revenues of tourism generated out of this revival will be worth it for real away from all the celebrations. 

Luxor saw hard times especially after the bombing of the Russian plane then in Coronavirus. It was like every time, the City begins to catch up with tourism, something bad happens. 

Hopefully, the revival of tourism in the city will help the locals without a doubt. 

You can watch the live broadcast of the event here if you are interested. 

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