A recent celebration in the Egyptian city of Luxor to mark the reopening of its restored Avenue of the Sphinxes will become an annual event, the country's tourism authority has said.
Decades-long excavations and restorations to the 3,400-year-old avenue that connects two of Luxor’s most prominent temples were completed in November, resulting in hundreds of visitors arriving at the Nile-side city to see it.
The 2.7km avenue had sustained significant damage over the years. Houses had been built over parts, burying many of its original relics – including a large number of the sphinxes that famously line the road.
After the success of a grand parade in March to relocate 22 royal mummies from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to the newly opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, the country’s tourism ministry is keen on highlighting the country’s other antiquities, said tourism minister Khaled El Anany.
November’s celebration was fashioned after an ancient Egyptian religious ceremony known as the Opet festival, which will now be marked with a parade each year, said the tourism ministry.
Tourism officials said this week that the date will most likely vary each year.
The next of the ministry’s planned promotional events is set to take place at the end of this month at Sinai’s famed St Catherine Monastery.
This will be followed by events at the rock-cut Abu Simbel temples in Aswan province in February. These will mark a solar alignment at the site that occurs each February and October.
“Next year is going to be a particularly significant year for antiquities in Egypt,” Bassam El Shamaa, a prominent Egyptologist, told The National.
It will mark the centenary of the discovery the tomb of Tutankhamun in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings, and the 200th anniversary of translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs using the Rosetta Stone.
Egypt’s tourism, one of its economy’s most important cornerstones, was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government has been endeavouring to revamp the sector after the pandemic kept tourists away for two years.