Excavation and restoration on the Avenue of Sphinxes

Egypt’s Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosni, and Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), along with the governor of Luxor, Samir Farag, will embark today on an inspection tour along the Avenue of Sphinxes that connects the Luxor and Karnak temples.

Built by the 30th Dynasty king Nectanebo I (380-362 BC), the avenue is 2,700 meters long and 76 meters wide, and lined with a number of statues in the shape of sphinxes. Queen Hatshepsut recorded on her red chapel in Karnak temple that she built six chapels dedicated to the god Amun-Re on the route of this avenue during her reign, emphasising that it was long a place of religious significance.



The Avenue of Sphinxes is one of the most important archaeological and religious paths in Luxor, as it was the location of important religious ceremonies in ancient times, most notably the Beautiful Feast of Opet.



The Opet Festival was celebrated annually in Thebes, during the New Kingdom period and later. The statues of the gods of the Theban Triad - Amun, Khonsu and Mut - were escorted, hidden from sight in a sacred barque, in a joyous procession down the Avenue of Sphinxes from the temple of Amun in Karnak, to the temple of Luxor in order to relive their marriage.



Dr. Hawass said that developing the Avenue of Sphinxes is part of the SCA’s collaboration with the Luxor government - one of the issues is to tackle air pollution damaging the monuments - to develop the whole city into an open-air museum.



Along the avenue there were originally 1350 sphinxes. Many of the stone guardians were removed and reused during the Roman period and the Middle Ages.



The excavation also revealed reliefs and the cartouches of several kings and queens. One of the reliefs bears the name of Queen Cleopatra VII. Dr. Hawass believes that this queen likely visited this avenue during her Nile trip with Mark Anthony and implemented restoration work that was marked with her cartouche.



Remains of Queen Hatshepsut’s chapels, which were reused by King Nectanebo I in the construction of sphinxes, have been found, along with a collection of Roman buildings - remains of wine factories and a huge cistern for water.

Dust, damp and doters damaging King Tut's Tomb, say Getty Institute

Digital Karnak: Explore the evolution of the temple

Climate change is threatening Egypt's landmarks

Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

    £45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Account Manager

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Sales Account Manager...

    Day In a Page

    US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

    Immigration: Obama's final frontier

    The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

    Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

    You know that headache you’ve got?

    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

    Scoot commute

    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
    Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

    The Paul Robeson story

    How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
    10 best satellite navigation systems

    Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

    Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
    Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

    Paul Scholes column

    England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

    Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
    Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

    Frank Warren column

    Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
    Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

    Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

    Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
    Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

    'How do you carry on? You have to...'

    The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

    'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

    Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
    Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

    Sir John Major hits out at theatres

    Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
    Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

    Kicking Barbie's butt

    How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines