Excavation and restoration on the Avenue of Sphinxes
Wednesday 03 February 2010
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.
Life & Style blogs
DNA hope on schizophrenia: Research breakthrough points at over 100 genes
Husband creates spreadsheet detailing wife's 'excuses' for turning down sex
Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
Man takes most pointless Uber cab ride of all time
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 3 Fight Club 2: Chuck Palahniuk sequel is a 'meta-fictional comment on the cultural response to the original'
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...
Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...
£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...
£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire