Egypt Reopens The Old Avenue Of Sphinxes In Luxor In A Grand Ceremony

The opening of The Sphinx Avenue in Luxor, which is considered the largest open museum in the world

A legendary celebration of the opening of Sphinx Avenue (Road of the Rams), the oldest historical passage in the world, was launched on Thursday evening, 25/11/2021, in the presence of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and First Lady, Entisar El-Sisi, amid global interest in the Egyptian civilization that dates back to thousands of years and has reflected on various parts of the world.

The ceremony is attended by Prime Minister Dr Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Dr Khaled El-Anani and senior state officials.

The avenue, between the Temples of Luxor and Karnak, is about 2.7 kilometres long and 76 metres wide. It takes its name from the 1,300 statues lining it on both sides, which date back more than 3,500 years.

Most of the statues depict the sphinx, a mythical creature with a human head on a lion’s body. Other statues represent sacred rams, or lions with the head of a ram.

The Opet Festival

The celebration at Luxor included a re-enactment of the ancient Opet Festival, an annual celebration of the Nile floods which guaranteed a rich harvest.

Luxor, about 660 kilometres south of Cairo, stands on the site of the old city of Thebes, for centuries the capital of the pharaohs. Its concentration of temples, royal tombs and other archaeological and cultural remains make it one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country.

The Avenue of Sphinxes dates from the eighteenth dynasty of pharaohs (1550-1290 BCE). Some archaeologists believe its construction began under Queen Hatshepsut (1479-1458), the most powerful woman to reign in ancient Egypt.

Experts say her successor, Thutmose III (1458-1426), initiated the Opet Festival. Fathi Yassin, director of the Antiquities of Upper Egypt in Luxor, says the celebrations lasted “for a period ranging from 11 to 27 days, and included popular and official ceremonies.”

The rituals included taking statues of the gods along the Avenue of Sphinxes, which also became known as the path of the processions of the gods. Small temples along the way could have been filled with offerings to the gods themselves or to the priests.

Later in Egypt’s history, statues were transported to and from Karnak by boat along the river, rather than carried on land. A royal boat sailed along with the boats of the gods, thus celebrating the coronation of the king and confirming the monarch’s legitimacy.

The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Dr. Khaled El-Anany, reviewed to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi the details of the ceremonial opening of Rams Road.

About 200 international media correspondents accredited in Egypt attended this huge and legendary party to cover this legendary celebration.

The celebration started with a song by Egyptian singer Mohamed Hamaki and Italian singer Lara Iskander entitled "Our Country is Sweet", accompanied by dancers.

The event also included a show by a number of horse carriages for which Luxor is famous accompanied by the famous Reda band song “Luxor, our country, is a country of tourists”.

The celebration witnessed the screening of a documentary film about Luxor Governorate, entitled (Luxor Secret), displaying the city of Luxor, its most prominent monuments and tourist attractions.

The film was presented by a group of artists, Luxor people and archaeologists, who talked about the various tourist activities that are held in Luxor besides visiting the monuments, especially the balloon tours, Nile cruises, shopping, in addition to some sports and entertainment activities.

The film also showed the religious diversity in Luxor, and he shed light on the mosques and churches that are there.

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Dr. Khaled El-Anany, highlighted - during the film - the volume of tourism in Luxor, showing how far tourists are attached to it.

The film also hosted one of the tourists who resided in Luxor for more than 15 years, who talked about his experience expressing how far he is attached to Luxor.

The film concluded with a message from the Minister of Tourism about Luxor, in which he reassured everyone, saying, "Our country is safe."

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