CAIRO - 25 November 2021: In a glittering ceremony in the City of Sun, Luxor, Egypt reopens the 3,000-year-old Avenue of the Sphinxes, which lies between Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple.
The Pharaonic Avenue of Sphinxes (The Road of Rams) is an open-air museum the Egyptian government re-opens on Thursday after years of excavations and restorations.
The historic event has been attended by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, prominent statesmen and ambassadors of foreign countries to Egypt.
The 2,700-meter Rams Road was a road of major processions for the kings of the Pharaohs, and a festive avenue for various holidays, including the renowned Opet Festival- the Ancient Egyptian Festival celebrated in Thebes (Luxor) and the coronation feast of the king, especially during the New Kingdom of 1550 to 1069 BCE.
Most of the original 1,057 statues in Sphinxes Avenue have been recovered.
Here is the live update (Cairo local time):
8:52 PM - The Opet Festival began.
Egyptian singer Shahd Ezz sings “ The First Call” song in hieroglyphic and is inspired by Opet Festival, while sublime tunes flood the historical area.
The lyrics of “ The First Call” song are taken from the hymns written on the walls of the temples and related to the celebration of the most famous festival in ancient Egypt, which is the Opet Festival.
The Opet Festival show is carried out while dazzling lights reflect on the ancient temples. Performers of the Opet Festival celebration wear costumes that mimic the real ancient Opet Festival during ancient Egypt.
Shahd Ezz is accompanied by United Philharmonic Orchestra with 160 percussionists, conducted by Nader Abbassi. Participants of the Opet Festival walk in a procession carrying their tributes. The Deity Amun Ra is carried on the sacred boat to his harem for fertility.
Then, Egyptian singer Haidy Moussa sings Hatshepsut Chant. The Hatshepsut chant was considered a holy chant performed during the Opet Festival.
Hatshepsut Chant Lyrics is inspired by hymns written on the walls of the temples during the Opet Festival. Haidy Moussa is wearing a catchy pharaonic costume that women used to wear during the Opet Festival.
The dancers are providing a dancing show exactly like the one that ancient Egyptians used to perform in Opet Festival. Luxor's Nile shines as sailboats surround the Sacred Boat of the Opet Festival.
The Opet festival involved priests, civilians and noblemen making a processional walk from Luxor Temple to Karnak down the avenue during the second month of the Nile flooding season.
Sphinxes Avenue grand event witnessed a gradual panoramic illumination of Luxor Temple and the Road of Rams along 3 km.
Performers resemble the Nile Flooding festivities of the ancient Opet Festival, wearing the same costumes and chanting the same songs. Egypt illuminates the West Bank and the Temple of Hatshepsut and the laser lights embrace the sky.
The floating golden boats moving in the Nile, designed in the pharaonic style, symbolizing the trinity of the sacred gods Amun, Mut and Khonsu. Performers walk in a solemn procession along the King's Festivities Road.
Also, Egyptian singer Ezz el Ostoul sings Amun-Ra Chant. Ezz el-Ostoul excels in his performance adding sublimity to the grandiose festival.
Performers walk in a solemn procession along the King's Festivities Road as Egyptian Ezz el-Ostoul sings the Amun-Ra chant.
The soundtrack of the Opet Festival artistic show put the whole world in a kind of pharaonic mood.
The performers are dancing in a complete harmony that grabbed the world's attention and captured the attendees' eyes and hearts.
The ceremony acknowledges the ancient Egyptian Opet Festival, which was predominantly celebrated in Thebes – as Luxor was known in the ancient world – and especially during the New Kingdom of 1550 to 1069 BCE.
Egyptian singer Wael el Fashny is singing Luxor Baladna (Luxor is our home) song. Wael el-Fashni gets on stage, wearing the costumes of Luxor.
Luxor Baldana narrates the beauty of Luxor and the greatness of its people and monuments.
Then, fireworks sparked the sky of Luxor, ending this remarkable and historic ceremony.
Luxor in its new shape is greeting the whole world from Sphinxes Avenue and inviting people from all over the world to come and visit it.. Welcome to Luxor.
8:40 PM - Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Anani presented a briefing on Egypt's ancient Opet Festival.
After welcoming President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt's First Lady Intissar Amer and all news agencies attending the ceremony, Anani said “We are now standing in Luxor Temple. One of the most important monuments of Luxor.”
“We will present a show inspired by Opet Festival. The following celebration is inspired by the Opet Festival in ancient Egypt, which took place during the second month of the Nile flood season,” he said.
“The Opet Festival depends on Nile flood, said the minister, speaking in detail on the Opet Festivities in ancient Egypt and the festivals held in Luxor in modern Egypt.
“Every place in Luxor has part of Egypt History. No building in the world matches the brilliance of the archaeological area that surrounds us. We are here in Luxor temple in 1989 we discovered the largest cache,” he said.
“Today we celebrate Luxor in its ‘new shape.’ The main celebration focuses on the discovery of Al-Kebbash (Ram)Road,” he added.
“For 70 years, Egyptian restorers have been working to renovate Al-kebbash Road. I praise the work of Egyptian archeologists. Luxor deserves to be dubbed the ‘Largest Open Museum’ in the world,” he continued.
“We managed to unveil Al-Kebbash Road. However, the archaeological work did not end, it will resume for many years to come. We discovered 250 statues with ram heads. Numerous kings are attributed to the creation of the Sphinx statues along the road,” the Minister said.
“The event is not only about Kebbash road, we are here to announce that we have finished the visual identity work. This event is tailor-made to promote Luxor tourism.
The Luxor Airport has been renovated to match its status as the most important historical city in the world.
One of the aims of the grand ceremony is to promote the city of Luxor in particular, and Egypt in general, he said. “Our Strategic promotion tends to highlight that Egypt is a vibrant modern country full of life, but also proud of its historical civilization.”
Since the Pharaohs' Golden Parade, Egyptians felt more proud of their country and its history, he said.
8:35 PM- Another folklore song with Upper Egypt's style dancing has been performed on the stage wearing Luxor costumes.
The song speaks about the beauty of Upper Egypt and Luxor and how their people are very kind.
8:17 PM- A documentary titled "Luxor..The Secret" is being watched for the world guests in Luxor and for those who are remotely following up on this historic event. The documentary shows the secret of the beauty of the City of the Sun, and how it has hosted various civilizations over history.
"Luxor is like a small encyclopedia containing all ancient Egyptian history and secrets," the documentary narrates.
"Luxor Houses the history of multiple dynasties," said Mustafa Waziri, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities at Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
"Egyptian state was the strongest during the New Kingdom. Luxor was built by the greatest Kings of Egypt," he said in the documentary.
"Luxor Houses the largest number of temples and tombs. Karnak Temples is the most important religious complex in the world," he added.
"All the colors in Luxor temples are the original colors used during the era of the 19th Dynasty," he continued.
"Vallet of Kings is the most important archeological place, Waziri said, adding "King Tutankhamun's tomb is the most important archaeological tomb in the world, located only in Luxor." Tut tomb houses more than 5000 unique artifacts, he said.
Luxor people: We invite the entire world to visit Luxor, the oldest complex of religions in the world.
The documentary shows how Monastery el-Shohada, which was built by Queen Helena, in Luxor illustrates in depth the Coptic civilization.
"There are always new discoveries in Luxor that surprises us every day," an Egyptologist said in the documentary, which says that Egypt has changed completely recently especially pertaining to restoration methods.
8:07 PM- The show of the inauguration of the Sphinxes Avenue grand event started with a song performed by Egyptian singer Mohamed Hamaky and Lara Scandar.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt's First Lady Intissar Amer observe the recorded celebrations on a large screen. The launch of a number of balloons in the sky of Luxor to celebrate the spectacular grand opening of Sphinxes Avenue.
The Egyptian dancers give a dazzling dancing show on “ Luxor Baladna” music.
Dancing and ancient cartwheels flood the Luxor Corniche.
The official song of the Sphinx Avenue celebration is performed in numerous world dialects. The song lyrics narrate the beauty and magic of Egyptian Civilization.
8:00 PM- Sphinxes Avenue grand event kicked off
Egyptian T.V. Presenter Nancy Nour greets the world to the Sphinx Avenue grand event, saying "Hatshepsut was the symbol of women empowerment."
"This place reflects the ingenuity of ancient Egyptians," she added.
T.V. Presenter Nada Reda said that Valley of the kings is where King Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered. "Luxor is the city of treasures," she said.
"Today's event captures the eyes of the entire world," said Egyptian T.V. host Angy el-Qadi at the festival.
7:49 PM- Minister of Antiquities and Tourism Khaled Anani narrated the history of the venue of the Sphinxes, saying "Luxor became now an open Museum [...] Luxor is a city registered in UNESCO heritage sites in 1979 as Luxor houses the greatest numbers of antiquities in the world."
He added that Karnak Temples in Luxor is a religious complex that consists of numerous temples, continuing that Luxor Temple is overlooking the Karnak Temples.
"In ancient times, Luxor was the capital of Egypt," the Minister said. "Luxor was the capital of Egypt and was named Thebes," he added.
"The Luxor Temple was built for the ceremonial rituals affiliated to the River Nile," he said.
Anani said that Alexander the Great, when arriving in Luxor, built the Holy of Holies. He continuing" In front of Luxor temple, there are six statues to Ramses II."
"One of the obelisks contains scenes of monkeys saluting the sun," he said while he was accompanying President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to the 1st courtyard.
"We can see here remains of a mosque and church," the Minister added, saying "The first courtyard illustrates the beauty of the ancient Egyptian history."
"Ramses II created a courtyard that contains scenes of ancient Egyptian plants. Two huge statues of Ramses II are located in the area," he said.
"Papyrus was the sign of South Egypt," Anani said.
"Union of the Land (North and South) scene exposes how the ancient Egyptians believed in the unity of the lands," he added.
Talking about the Nile River, Anani said that the flooding of the Nile was a very sacred season for ancient Egyptians. "Egyptian nation over years has two strong points which are the Nile and to stay always united," he said.
Nile sailboats shine in brilliance in the Nile on the side parallel to the Luxor & Karnak Temples.
7:44 PM- President Abdel Fattah El Sisi arrived to witness the inauguration of Sphinxes Avenue. He is accompanied by Minister of Antiquities and Tourism Khaled Anani.
7:42 PM- Egypt's First Lady Entisar El Sisi arrived to witness the inauguration of Sphinxes Avenue.
7:30 PM- The one-of-a-kind Sphinxes Avenue kicked off.
Egyptian TV presenters Iman el Hossary narrated the story of Luxor Temple.
"The Luxor Temple highlights countless scenes depicting ancient Egyptians' celebrations of the sacred Opet Festival [...] Egypt will revive Opet Festival in Sphinxes Avenue grand opening," Hossary said.
A show inspired by Opet Festival will be performed.