Egypt revives link between ancient temples

The ancient Temple of Luxor is an end-point for a restored 3400-year-old avenue in Egypt.
The ancient Temple of Luxor is an end-point for a restored 3400-year-old avenue in Egypt.

A restored 3400-year-old road connecting two ancient Egyptian temple complexes in Karnak and Luxor has been unveiled in a lavish ceremony aimed at raising the profile of one of Egypt's top tourist spots.

The procession to reopen the 2.7km road included a re-enactment of the ancient Opet festival, where statues of Theban deities were paraded annually during the New Kingdom era in celebration of fertility and the flooding of the Nile.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi marched along the road at the start of the ceremony.

Pharaonic chariots and more than 400 young performers paraded along the avenue.

Linking the ancient centres of Karnak and Luxor, the route also known as Road of the Rams or the Avenue of the Sphinxes is lined with hundreds of ram- and human-headed sphinxes, many of which have been eroded or destroyed over the years.

It has undergone several restoration efforts since being discovered in 1949, with the most recent beginning in 2017.

Tourism is a crucial source of jobs and hard currency for Egypt, which has made a concerted effort to lure back travellers kept away by the coronavirus pandemic.

In April, 22 ancient royal mummies from Luxor and the nearby Valley of the Kings were borne in procession from Cairo's Egyptian Museum to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation.

Egypt's tourism revenues plunged to about $A5.6 billion in 2020, down from $A18 billion in 2019.

Australian Associated Press