Egypt resurrects link between Luxor and Karnak for more than 3,000 years

Avenue of Sphinxes between Luxor and Karnak is reopened

LUXOR, Egypt (Reuters) – A restored thoroughfare connecting two ancient Egyptian temple complexes between Karnak and Luxor was unveiled Thursday at a sumptuous ceremony aimed at boosting Egypt’s profile as a top tourist destination of the planet.

A procession to reopen the 2.7km road included the reenactment of the ancient festival of Opet, in which statues of Theban deities were paraded annually during the New Kingdom period to celebrate the fertility and flooding of the River Nile.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi marched down the road at the start of the ceremony. Pharaonic chariots and more than 400 performers dressed in pharaonic costumes also paraded at the site.

The 3,400-year-old thoroughfare connecting the ancient centers of Karnak and Luxor, also known as the Road of the Sheep, or Avenue of the Sphinxes, is flanked by hundreds of sculptures of sphinxes with human and sheep heads, albeit over the years. many have been eroded or destroyed.

The link has gone through several restoration initiatives since its discovery in 1949, the last of which began in 2017.

Tourism is a crucial source of jobs and income for Egypt, which has made concerted efforts to lure back travelers displaced by the coronavirus pandemic.

In April, 22 ancient mummies from Luxor and the so-called Valley of the Kings paraded in procession from Cairo’s Egyptian Museum to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

The country’s tourism revenue plummeted from $13 billion in 2019 to $4 billion in 2020.

(Reporting by Sarah El Safty)

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