The grand opening of Egypt's new 'Path of the Lambs'

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attended the grand ceremony in a spectacle of lights and ancient history
Ceremonia de inauguración en Karnak

AFP/KHALED ELFIQI  -   Inauguration ceremony at Karnak

Egypt has reopened the ancient archaeological route known as 'The Road of the Rams' which, during Pharaonic times, connected the temple of Luxor with the temple of Karnak. The country's president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, along with a number of senior government officials and representatives of foreign delegations, attended a grand ceremony that recreated Ancient Egypt with a spectacle of lights, dance, music, fireworks and audiovisual documents that was broadcast by various media outlets. 

This pathway, now restored, is about 2,700 metres long and consists of a stone walkway with statues of rams on either side. There are also statues of sphinxes and of the kings Amenhotep II and Nechtenbo II. The causeway is made up of 1,059 sculptures that are in a very good state of preservation, although there is a large part of the route that has been affected by the effects of time. The first statue was found in 1949, and since then the search for more has not stopped. 

In Ancient Egypt, these representations of rams were built in front of temples to protect them from evil spirits and could be made in two forms: a statue of a complete ram and another one with only the head of the ram, but the body of a lion. This way represents the consecration to the cult of the ancient deity Amun Ra, the Sun God. 

luxor templo
AFP/KHALED ELFIQI - The sphinxes flanking the entrance promenade to the temple of Karnak

The ceremony opened with a pictorial representation of the Valley of the Kings, various ancient temples such as Luxor, Karnak, Habu and Hashput and a presentation of the Luxor Museum presented by a team of professional journalists from the country. Al-Sisi, together with the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled Anani, began the tour, which the minister described in detail. He also stated that there are still many more archaeological remains to be found and unearthed. Anani explained that this project had already been underway for some time, since 2004, but due to the events of 2011 it had to be stopped. 

2011 was a key year in the African country, as on 25 January of that year hundreds of thousands of young people, tired of the regime at the time, took to the streets to protest against President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak refused to step down and sent state security forces to quell the increasingly violent demonstrations. In the end, the revolution left 850 people dead and many injured due to government reprisals, but the people succeeded, and Mubarak resigned. 

This parade was followed by a re-enactment of the festival known as Opet, in the time of the pharaohs. This ceremony represents the regeneration of Amun-Ra, one of the main gods of Ancient Egypt, in which the rising of the Nile River was also venerated as a symbol of good fortune. The march continued inside the Luxor temple where singers Mohamed Maki and Lara Iskandar performed the song 'Our Sweet Country' in both Arabic and English. Then, on the ceremonial stage, Heido Moussa performed his single 'Chant Hatshot' and artist Izz al-Fleet 'The Song of Amun'. Also, a documentary entitled 'Luxor. The Secret' with the participation and direction of various personalities of the country representing the cultural heritage of the nation and inviting tourists to come. It revealed much of the work of the archaeological missions that were carried out and various discoveries

luxor templo
AFP/KHALED ELFIQI - Inauguration of the Great Avenue of the Sphinxes at Luxor

The show is part of the Egyptian government's campaign to boost the country's tourism and improve its image elsewhere. The new open-air museum is one of the president's hopes for a return to normality and a return to what has been lost. Egypt aims to regain the number of foreign tourists lost since the 2011 revolution, which has been an economic scourge for the nation as more than 15 million annual visitors were lost. Although this has been normalised over time, the COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact on tourism in the area, which is why the administrations are trying to regain the old normality once and for all.