Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More re Luxor's avenue of sphinxes

drhawass.com (Zahi Hawass)

The SCA currently has many restoration projects underway. One of the most important is the Avenue of Sphinxes in Luxor. This is an avenue that stretches between Karnak and Luxor Temples and is lined with sphinxes, although most of it was covered with modern housing.

The Avenue of Sphinxes dates back to the reign of Amenhotep III in the 18th Dynasty. He built an avenue of sphinxes with ram heads, and we also know that before that, Queen Hatshepsut built seven chapels along this route. The most important phase of the avenue is dated to the 30th Dynasty, during the reign of Nectanebo I. At that time the avenue was made up of 1350 sphinxes lining both sides of the road connecting the temples, which was over 70 meters wide. During the Roman Period, the avenue was subjected to destruction. Many people built roads and houses over the top, and reused the sphinxes in their construction.

We decided to begin an important restoration project a few years ago. The initiative started when we found that President Mubarak himself and the Prime Minister of Egypt, Ahmed Nazif, were both very interested to see this avenue beautifully restored.

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