Saturday, March 29, 2008

New dawn for Luxor temples

Al Ahram Weekly (Nevine El-Aref)

The heat wave that hit Egypt last Sunday did not deter Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif from going ahead with his planned two-day tour of Luxor to view the progress achieved so far with the project to develop the whole area, including the town itself, into an open air museum. The plans include more facilities and easier access for tourists.

Luxor has been under major development since 2005 under President Hosni Mubarak's programme to improve services for the residents of Upper Egypt and to develop and promote tourist projects, which will in turn fuel the local economy and provide job opportunities. Buildings that encroached on ancient monuments were cleared, making way for excavations that revealed the full route of the Avenue of Sphinxes, once the royal path between Luxor and Karnak temples.

After three years of makeover, Luxor is looking more alluring than ever. New houses and shops have been built to replace those that were forcibly demolished. All the buildings along the Corniche have been repainted in earth colours, and the city's streets and squares have been given a facelift, including the planting of large numbers of trees and flowers.

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