The newly renovated Avenue of the Sphinxes has been reopened with a spectacular ceremony in the city of Luxor on Thursday.
The Karnak and Luxor temples are linked by the promenade which dates back nearly 3,400 years in what used to be the city of Thebes. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi attended the televised event along with other senior officials.
Performers drive chariots along ‘Road of the Rams’
The 2.7km (1.7 mile) walkway has had a number of restoration efforts since it was discovered in 1949.
The path which is also known as the Road of the Rams is flanked by hundreds of ram and human-headed sphinxes.
The ceremony had a reenactment of an ancient procession along the walkway which involved hundreds of performers who rode in chariots who were dressed in clothing from the New Kingdom era.
According to Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Enani around one third of the statues have been unearthed and searches would continue for more.
Egypt wants to revive tourism
The country’s income from tourism has taken a large knock since the 2011 uprising that saw the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak.
The global pandemic also hit tourism hard causing revenue to plummet to $4 billion (€3.5 billion) in 2020 from $13 billion the year before.
Egyptian officials said that Thursday’s event is part of a push to promote the southern city of Luxor as one of the world’s largest open-air museums.
In April, 22 royal mummies were taken in a procession from Luxor to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. The elaborate procession was dubbed the “Pharaohs’ Golden Parade” and was also televised before a global audience.
Officials hope these events will heighten the profile of Luxor and Egypt’s other sites, restoring Egypt’s prestige in the global tourism sector.
kb/dj (AP, dpa, Reuters)
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