Friday, February 05, 2010

In the field: Sphinx-lined alley hints at wealth of Egypt's lost empires

Egypt State Information Service

In an important step to implement the plan for developing Luxor over the coming 30 years and turn it into an international archaeological open museum. Mr. Farouk Hosni Minister of Culture stressed that the development project includes 3 stages.

The initial one is of the mud-brick wall along the road to protect it from any infringements and the second is the exploration work and the third stage is the repairing one.

President Hosni Mubarak will inaugurate the Avenue of Sphinxes in a great gala in mid-March after finalizing development works on the archeological site in Luxor.

Culture Minister Farouk Hosni examined on Wednesday 3/2/2010 excavation works at the Avenue of Sphinxes that connects the Luxor and Karnak temples.

Excavations at the ancient 600 meter-long pathway should be completed ahead of March 3, a date set by the ministry for inauguration.

Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Secretary General Zahi Hawwas, who accompanied the minister during the inspection tour, said a number of residences and stores were relocated to make way for the roadway with their owners compensated.

The Council contributed LE30 million to relocate the residences and a similar sum for restoration and excavations, he added.

7 News

The ancient path that Egyptian worshippers and Roman provincials once trod as they crossed between the temples of Luxor and Karnak will be opened to tourists next month, officials announced on Wednesday.

Surrounded by urban sprawl, the sphinx-lined Kabash path in Luxor testifies to the astonishing affluence of an ancient king and later empires that perished long ago but left striking traces of their remote civilisation.

Excavation work on the 2.7 kilometre (1.7 mile) road, which for centuries was covered in sand and buildings, began three years ago.

Archaeologists are now closer to uncovering the entire road that ancient Egyptians promenaded along once a year with the statues of Amun and Mut in a symbolic re-enactment of the deities' marriage.

The fabulously wealthy Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who ruled about 3,400 years ago, built the road during a halcyon era of ancient Egypt to connect the vast Karnak temple in ancient Thebes to the Luxor Temple.

Sphinxes were built on either side of the road, alongside chapels stocked with offerings for the deities.

Touring the uncovered parts of the alley, Egyptian Culture Minister Faruq Hosni said workers had discovered 650 sphinx statues.

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