Egypt revived a tradition of its own that likely hadn’t been seen in a couple thousand years to mark the reopening of the ancient Avenue of Sphinxes in the city of Luxor.
The sacred road, once named “The Path of God,” connects the Temples of Karnak in the north with Luxor in the south. Paved in sandstone blocks, the 1.7-mile-long road is lined on both sides with more than 1,050 statues of sphinxes and rams. They’ve spent centuries buried under the desert sands, but slowly, over many years; Egypt’s renowned archaeologists are bringing them back into the light of day.
Over time the road was abandoned and buried under the sand. But in 1949, the first eight sphinx statues were discovered in front of the Luxor Temple. The excavations have continued for years, on and off, as archaeologists uncover and map the ancient road. They’ve had to demolish some buildings, including mosques, a church, and many homes, that sprung up along the route over the ensuing millennia.
The event reflects President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s keenness on highlighting the richness and glory of Egypt’s ancient civilization in tandem with his keenness on carrying out mega-national projects across the country.