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Egypt celebrates reopening 3,400-year-old Avenue of the Sphinxes

(CNN) — Egypt celebrated the reopening of the ancient Avenue of Sphinxes in Luxor on Thursday night, a 2.7-kilometer (1.7-mile) road that connects two temple complexes in the area, the Temple of Luxor and the Temple of Karnak.
The event included a re-enactment of the Opet Festival, an annual ancient celebration and carnival held by Egyptian dynasties in the presence of kings to celebrate the River Nile and fertility.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi attended the festivities, which featured a march, an orchestra and dancers in pharaonic dress exhibiting ancient practices during the Opet Festival.
Visitors walk past the statues of the Ancient Egyptian New Kingdom Pharaoh Ramses II at night.
Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images Getty Images
The road, also known as Road of the Rams, dates back 3,400 years, Reuters reports. However, it was first discovered in the late 1940s, according to Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
The road was expanded across different Egyptian dynasties over hundreds of years and had annexes added to it, including baths and washbasins, a pottery making area, and storage for wine vessels, the ministry said.
The site has since undergone decades of excavation, restoration efforts and today features hundreds of traditional sphinxes and ram-headed statues lined up on its path.
A view of the human-headed sphinxes along the 2,700-metre-long road leading from the Temple of Luxor to the Karnak Temple.
Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images
The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities described the site as the "largest open museum in the world," and said in a statement that the goal of the project was to promote tourism in Luxor and highlight its diverse archaeological components.
Tourism is a crucial source of jobs and revenue for Egypt, and the industry has suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Reuters, the country's tourism revenues plunged to about $4 billion in 2020, down from $13 billion in 2019.
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