Egipto Exclusivo logo

7 things you didn’t know about Luxor’s Avenue of the Sphinxes

Last November we learned some good news for Egyptologists, Egyptomaniacs and tourists in general: the Avenue of the Sphinxes Luxor was re-inaugurated after a long period of restoration. So if it is in your program to visit Luxor, this mythical avenue can no longer be missing in the program. And in these lines we tell you some curiosities that you probably did not know about it and that will make you appreciate it even more during your visit.

What connects the Avenue of the Sphinxes

The Avenue of the Sphinxes connects the two most important religious precincts of the city of Luxor, the ancient Thebes: the Temple of Luxor and the temples of Karnak. The former was dedicated to Amun-Ra, while the latter formed the largest religious enclosure of Ancient Egypt, with buildings dedicated to Amun-Ra, Montu, Mut, Jonsu and Ptah.

How long is it

The Avenue of the Sphinxes of Luxor has a length of approximately 2.7 km. Its route is straight along almost the entire route, with only one curve on its arrival at the Karnak enclosure. It runs parallel to the Nile River and is currently crossed by several car overpasses.

What was its function

The Avenue of the Sphinxes of ancient Thebes not only gave access to both temples but was also the route along which the famous procession of the Feast of Opet took place: during the journey, sacred boats carrying the gods Amun-Ra, Mut and Jonsu were transported to the sound of music and dance, with the participation of the high priests of Amun and artists.  The purpose of this feast was to reaffirm the relationship between the pharaoh and Amun-Ra.

Sphinx Rams
Ram Sphinx in Luxor

The Avenue of the Sphinxes… and of the rams

Although the name Avenue of the Sphinxes has become popular, in reality this type of creature is only located on one side. On the other side are arranged, facing each other, ram-headed creatures.

How many sphinxes were

Originally, the Avenue of the Sphinxes was composed of more than 1,050 statues. Unfortunately, many of them have disappeared or are located in other parts of the world, such as Egyptian museums created outside the country. Some of them are still appearing as a result of archaeological works in the area.

How long the restoration took

The restoration of the Avenue of the Sphinxes may well be considered one of the longest lasting in the world, since it lasted about 7 decades in total, with periods of discontinuity.

Avenue of the Sphinxes of Luxor at night
Avenue of the Sphinxes of Luxor at night

Can be visited at night

The visit of the Avenue of the Sphinxes can be done in the morning, afternoon or evening. In fact, this last option is one of the most interesting for lovers of light and sound shows, since this mythical avenue and the walls of the temples lend themselves to audiovisual projections and shows of the most impressive. For this nocturnal visit it is necessary to buy the corresponding ticket, which allows you to visit this site, often called the ‘great open-air museum’, at night.

Related posts