During an inspection tour of Luxor’s archaeological sites, the Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim announced that the Avenue of Sphinxes will be partly opened to public by mid March. “We have chosen a date that coincides with the opening of the Berlin International Tourism Market on 13 March 2011,” Ibrahim told Ahram Online.
He explained that a 150 metre long section out of the 2,700 meters of the avenue will be ready for the public after restoration, promising to solve all technical and financial problems in order to resume restoration work in the rest of the avenue.
The Avenue of Sphinxes was built during the reign of Pharaoh Nectanebo I of the 30th Dynasty. It replaced another built in the 18th Dynasty by Queen Hatshepsut (1502-1482 BC), as she recorded on the walls of her red chapel in Karnak Temple.
According to this record, Hatshepsut built six chapels dedicated to the god Amun-Re on the route of the avenue during her reign, indicating that it had long been a place of religious significance.
However, over the span of history the avenue was lost, with some of its sphinxes destroyed and whole stretches buried in sand and build on.
Five years ago, in the framework of the Ministry of Culture, a programme to restore ancient Egyptian monuments with a view to developing the entire Luxor governorate into an open-air museum, a project was planned to recover lost elements of the avenue, restore the sphinxes and bring the place back to its original aspect.
During his tour with Luxor Governor Ezat Saad, Ibrahim visited American Research Centre excavation and restoration sites in Khonsu temple as well as monuments of the 18th and 19th dynasties at Karnak temple.