This week a new 600 metre stretch of the Avenue of the Sphinxes in Luxor was opened to the public. This makes almost 40% of the original 2.7 kilometre route now restored. There is new paving and lighting, and many of the sphinxes have been reconstructed.
The sphinxes bear the head of king Nectanebo I (ca. 370 BC), one of the last native kings of Egypt. Nectanebo restored the original statues which had been set up by the female pharaoh, Hatshepsut, a thousand years earlier.
The Avenue of the Sphinxes was built as a sacred processional route between the temples of Karnak and Luxor. It originally had up to 1,350 sphinxes lining both sides. Around half of these have been uncovered in various states of repair. Some have disappeared completely over the millennia, with others gracing museums around the world.
Work continues on the remaining sections of the avenue so that, in time, visitors will be able to walk the entire 2.7 kilometres length.
This photo, showing the reconstruction of the first extension of the Avenue of Sphinxes, was taken in July 2011.