The Reviving of the Grand Avenue of Sphinxes (Rams Road)



As Egypt grabbed the attention of the whole world to Cairo during the royal Mummies parade when they were transferred from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to their final destination to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. Egypt will grab the attention of the whole world again, but this time will be in Luxor, especially in the east bank of Luxor city. Luxor city is preparing for a celebration for reviving of the grand avenue of sphinxes at the end of June after its development and restoration.


Egypt is moving ahead with the restoration of the Grand Avenue of Sphinxes, which experts say will be a great cultural achievement for Egypt and exquisite addition to the study of the ancient Egyptian civilization. It is the biggest open-air archaeological site in the world that is due to open in Luxor in southern Egypt this winter after decades of work to uncover the 3,500-year-old Grand Avenue of the Sphinxes.

This Rams Road extends from Karnak to Luxor temples for about 2,700 m. There is evidence that Queen Hatshepsut from the Eighteenth Dynasty had been the first to build this processional road, with sphinxes in her own likeness. However, it was Amenhotep III, who first instituted the sphinx-lined avenue between the 10th pylon of Karnak Temple and the precinct of Mut Temple and to the South of Khonsu temple at Karnak. Then the project was stopped during the reign of Akhnaten but was continued by King Tutankhamun although the sphinxes have been usurped, reworked, and repositioned many times by later kings. The present sphinxes avenue dates back to the reign of Nectanebo I who inscribed various dedicatory texts on the bases of the sphinxes. The Sacred Road was first discovered in 1949 by Z. Ghonaim in front of Luxor temple. Subsequent excavations by M. Abdelqadr and M. Abdelraziq (between 1958 and 1964) substantially increased the initial exposure, revealing the Avenue from Luxor temple to the rear of Luxor Polis station which was existed in front of Luxor temple in 1936. By the end of these excavations, a total of sixty-two sphinxes had been revealed. Between 1984 and 1991 M. Al-Saghir excavated three more portions of the Avenue. The recent excavations started in 2005 in the different sectors according to the Luxor Governorate Strategy. The team working on this project had been under my direction from 2005 through 2013. The master plan of Luxor aims to excavate, to restore, and to install a site-management program designed to integrate the Avenue of Sphinxes into Luxor City. The recent excavations brought to light precious information that enriches our knowledge of Ancient Theban history.

Just as Egypt attracted the attention of the whole world in Cairo during the parade of the royal mummies when they were transferred from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to their final destination, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, Egypt will catch the attention of the whole world again, but this time in Luxor, specifically on the eastern shore of the city of Luxor. Egypt will once again capture the attention of the whole world, but this time in Luxor, specifically on the east bank of the city of Luxor. Luxor is planning a ceremony at the end of June to commemorate the development and restoration of the Grand Avenue of the Sphinxes.

The history of the grand avenue of sphinxes in details

The excavations in this avenue started on the 18th of March 1949 by the archaeologist Zakaria Ghoneim. The work continued till it stopped in 2011 due to the revolution of the 25th of January 2011, and it has been resumed again in 2017. We knew about this avenue from a depiction in the red chamber of Queen Hatshepsut at Karnak Complex, as Hatshepsut said that she constructed a road for her father the god Amun-Ra to pass through it during his feasts as Opet feast from Luxor Temple to Karnak Complex, vice versa. Also, she mentioned that she decorated this road with statues and 6 chambers for a break to the Holy boats of the triad of Thebes (Amun, Mut, and Khonsu).

Throughout ancient Egyptian history, several kings added statues to this road either headed with human head or ram head. It is thought that the construction of the avenue started during the New Kingdom and was completed in the 30th Dynasty during the rule of King Nectanebo I.

This avenue is divided into two parts. The first part is in front of Luxor Temple containing sphinxes statues with a human head and lion body, while the second part is in front of Karnak Complex headed with rams. All these statues were made from one block of sandstone.

This avenue connects Karnak Complex with Luxor Temple, passing by the domain of Mut. The statues are about 1200 statues on both sides. They look like that they guard those who using this avenue between the two temples.

The celebration of reviving of the avenue of sphinxes

The avenue of sphinxes is an archaeological site belonging to Thebes as World Heritage Site and considered as one of the most important attractions in the east bank of Luxor city.

The reviving of this avenue will turn the east bank of Luxor into an open-air museum, as the tourist will be able to visit Luxor Temple from Karnak Complex via walking through the avenue of sphinxes, which makes this site considered the world’s largest ancient site.

In this event, the grand avenue of sphinxes will be completely opened. It is about 2,700 meters long and about 7 meters wide, with 1200 statue on both sides.

How can you visit the avenue of sphinxes?

You will be able to visit it from Karnak Complex, or Luxor Temple, or through three side entrances. On the side of the avenue, there is a museum that will be existed to display the collection discovered during the excavations in the avenue of sphinxes. Additionally, you will see some wine presses, baths, and Nilometer.

The avenue of sphinxes will be lighted at night for visiting for more enjoyment with the ancient Egyptian magic.