Wednesday, March 03, 2010

More re avenue of sphinxes, Luxor

Earth Times

With a good b&w photograph of what the avenue of sphinxes looked before building started to buiilt around it.

An ancient sphinx-lined avenue that once connected two of Egypt's grandest temples will open to the public this month - but the project's implementation has drawn criticism from displaced residents. Archaeologists are working to restore a processional path between the Luxor and Karnak temples that lay buried for centuries beneath soil and urban sprawl.

But many locals, especially low-income families, claim the scheme is a form of slum-clearance in disguise, aimed at freeing land for lucrative, upmarket hotel development.

The 2.7-kilometre "Avenue of Sphinxes" was built by Pharaoh Amenhotep III nearly 3,500 years ago, and took its final form under Nectanebo I in the fourth century BC. More than 1,300 stone sphinxes lined the paved road, but it fell into disuse in the late Roman era.

Nearly half of the sphinxes have been recovered since excavations began three years ago.

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