After five years of restoration the first and fifth Sphinxes Avenues, which once connected both Karnak and Luxor temples in ancient times, are to be opened tomorrow night for the first time.
Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty is to cut the ribbon to open a new tourist destination in the town. He told Ahram Online that the restoration of the Sphinx Avenue and installing new lightening and security systems in Luxor temple came within the framework of the ministry’s efforts to protect the country’s ancient shrine.
Eldamaty explained that the development of Luxor’s temple lighting and security systems is a part of a Spanish grant of 150 million euros used for the implementation of a scheme to protect every archaeological site in Theban so they can be visited at night and be well-protected.
He went on to say that the new lighting system is made according to the latest technology which guarantees the preservation of the temple walls and engravings.
For his part Major General Mohamed Al-Sheikha, head of the Projects Department at the ministry of antiquities, said that the security system installed in the temple includes of an electronic curtain stretched around the temple, along with monitoring cameras connected to a TV circuit.
He told Ahram Online that the restoration of the first and fifth sections of the Sphinxes Avenue represents 37 per cent of the whole path. It was carried out in collaboration with the National Service Projects with a budget of LE66.5 million.
He went on to say that the restoration work of the first section, which stretches from the Luxor temple to 350 metres long, includes the removal of all encroachment as well as the consolidation of the avenue’s eastern wall and the restoration of the sphinxes themselves. The restoration of the 600-metre-long fifth section extends from the area behind Luxor Library to the town’s airport road.
Al-Sheikha pointed out that restoration is continuing on the other sections of the avenue in order to open more sections soon.
The Sphinxes Avenue was the site of ceremonial processions that once connected both Luxor and Karnak temples. It is dated to around 380 BCE and stretches some 2.7 kilometers. It would have originally had 1,350 sphinxes lining both sides. Around half of those have been uncovered, with many reworked by later civilizations or sitting in museums. Much of the avenue is still covered by modern buildings.