Luxor’s unsung heroes: Behind the scenes in the Avenue of Sphinxes

Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 4 Dec 2021

Behind every piece of art exhibited at the ceremony marking the opening of the Avenue of Sphinxes, there were scientific studies, artistic skills, and many stories to tell.

Luxor s unsung heroes

Reviving the ancient Opet festival from Karnak to Luxor temples across the Avenue of the Sphinxes with a modern twist meant the organisation of a long process without making a single mistake about the beliefs and traditions of ancient Egyptians.

The procession held in late November took place on land and along the Nile as the ancient Egyptians transported the barques of Luxor triad deities from Karnak to Luxor temples.

Another parade along the Nile took place, as illuminated sacred boats floated on the water and Pharaonic music was played to dance performances.

The manufacturing of the three sacred barques that once took the triad of Luxor deities Amun, Mut, and Khonso from Luxor to Karnak temples was carried out carefully after reviewing scientific studies and inscriptions engraved on ancient Egyptian temple walls.

 “Inscriptions on the walls of the Luxor Temple depicting the Opet festival were our references for the designs,” said Mohamed Attia, production designer for the Opet parade and ancient Egyptian songs.

The three barques were manufactured on a larger scale, each 14m long, than the ancient ones, which stood at 5m long each, to be more attractive for spectators.

A platform was built for the gifts carried during the festival procession.

 “The most difficult design was the sacred lake in the Karnak Temple,” Attia said.

It took seven days to complete. "A stage was built beneath the water to give the impression that the dancers were interacting with the water of the lake while using the moon disk as a backdrop. The design of the stage used for the ancient Egyptian singing was inspired by the key of life ankh, the sign of ancient Egyptians,” he noted.

The logo of the event was inspired by the deity Amun-Re’s barque with the sun disk in the middle.

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