Avenue of Sphinxes in Luxor: history, description, facts, photos

4.5 / 5 155 Reviews

7£

Type Sightseeing
Open 06:00 AM - 10:00 PM daily
Photography Allowed

Address

Location: Starts from Luxor temple premises

Accessibility

Not wheelchair friendly

Sphinx Avenue now and then

A long development journey of the Rams Road, more known as Sphinx avenue, began 72 years ago with the discovery of the road by Egyptian archaeologists, and in the last three years efforts have been intensified to end the development and restoration processes.

Now, as the restoration process finished and the Sphinx Avenue is ready to be opened the following facts are to be put into consideration by visitors who want to discover the ancient temples and walk as Pharaohs on our daily Half Day Avenue of Sphinxes Tour in Luxor Egypt

- The length of the road is 2,700 meters, and there are 3 cafeterias along the way.
- There are benches and rest areas on both sides of the road for visitors.
- There are 3 exits our of the Sphinx Avenue to the road in case you got tired of the walk.
- The number of rams on both sides of the road is 1059 statues.
- Only 30% of the restoration and installation of the heads have been completed so far. Some rams are still missing a part of their heads, some do not have any head at all.
- There are indicative panels and beacons for visitors to introduce the artifacts, and panels to inform visitors

Sphinx avenue history of restoration

Now we are able to see two sections of the Avenue of Sphinxes in Luxor looking much as they did in the days of the Pharaohs. The magnificent aspect of the Avenue of Sphinxes that once connected the temples of Luxor and Karnak, where priests, royalty and the pious walked in procession to celebrate the Opet festival, is being rekindled. Many of the 1,350 human-headed sphinxes with the bodies of lions that once lined the avenue have been restored. On the annual Opet festival priests trod the paving stones from Karnak to Luxor bearing a wooden bark holding the shrine of the triad of deities: Amun-Re, Mut and Khonsu.

After five years of restoration the first and fifth Sphinxes Avenues, which once connected both Karnak and Luxor temples in ancient times are open to public. This part represents 37% of the whole path. The restoration work of the first section, which stretches from the Luxor temple to 350 meters long, includes the removal of all encroachment as well as the consolidation of the avenue's eastern wall and the restoration of the sphinxes themselves. The restoration of the 600-metre-long fifth section extends from the area behind Luxor Library to the town's airport road.

Sphinx avenue rediscovered

The 2,700-metre-long avenue of sphinxes was built during the reign of Pharaoh Nectanebo I of the 13th-Dynasty. It replaced one built formerly in the 18th Dynasty, as Queen Hatshepsut (1502-1482 BC) recorded on the walls of her red chapel in Karnak Temple. According to this, she built six chapels dedicated to the god Amun-Re on the route of the avenue during her reign, emphasizing that it was long a place of religious significance.

Sadly, however, over the span of history the avenue was lost, subjected to destruction as some of its sphinxes were destroyed and those sections of the avenue that were far removed from both temples were covered with sand and were buried under random housing. The excavation team unearthed a large number of fragmented sphinxes that are now undergoing restoration, once restored, they will be placed on display along the avenue. The avenue was divided into five excavation sections, each revealing more sphinxes as well as the cartouches of several kings and queens. Excavators have unearthed only 650 sphinxes of the original 1,350, since many were reused during the Roman period and the Middle Ages.

Archaeologists have unearthed a number of Roman buildings and workshops for the manufacture of clay pots and statues, as well as several reliefs. One of the reliefs bears the cartouche of the famous Queen Cleopatra VII (51-30 BC). It's believed that this queen likely visited this avenue during her Nile trip with Mark Anthony and implemented restoration work that was marked with her cartouche. Remains of Queen Hatshepsut's chapels, which were reused by the 30th- Dynasty Pharaoh Nectanebo I when the sphinxes were installed, have been found, along with the remains of Roman wine factories and a huge water cistern.

List of Luxor temples

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Published: 12 Dec 2018 Last update: 27 Nov 2021