Photo Of The Day: Egyptian Sphinx

Thanksgiving is a holiday that embraces traditions. It only seemed appropriate then to close out this long holiday weekend with an image of that most-iconic of Egyptian historical landmarks: the Sphinx. This image was taken by Flickr user robert vaccaro. I like the shot’s side-profile perspective and the nice contrast of sandy rock with clean, blue sky. It’s a simple yet classic image that’s well framed and eye-catching.

Taken any great photos on your trip to Egypt? Or maybe just during your visit to Cairo, Illinois? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

[Photo credit: Flickr user robert vaccaro]

Egypt to reopen Avenue of Sphinxes in Luxor

Egypt, Luxor
The Egyptian Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim has announced that the Avenue of Sphinxes in Luxor will reopen in March after a long period of restoration.

Egypt, LuxorLuxor is a sprawling complex of temples and one of the greatest monuments of the ancient world. The Avenue of Sphinxes is a long road stretching 2.7 kilometers flanked by hundreds of sphinxes. It was built by the Pharaoh Nectanebo I (ruled 380-362 BC) to replace and earlier one built by Queen Hatshepsut (ruled 1502-1482 BC).

While some stretches of the avenue have always been visible, much of it was buried or destroyed over the centuries. Now the entire length is being restored as part of an ongoing project to improve the entire site.

The opening is planned to coincide with next year’s Berlin International Tourism Market. Egypt is anxious to draw tourists back to the country after the recent political instability. Considering the current protests in Cairo, the government has a lot of work to do before March.

Top image courtesy Przemyslaw “Blueshade” Idzkiewicz. Bottom image courtesy Dennis Jarvis.

Win an Intrepid trip to Egypt with the Nomading Film Festival

If you’ve ever dreamed of traveling by camel, visiting the iconic Pyramids, dining with Nubian locals in a traditional village, cruising along the Nile on a felucca, or bargain hunting in Cairo’s souqs; it’s time to pick up your camera and start shooting.

The adventure experts at Intrepid Travel have teamed up with Brooklyn’s Nomading Film Festival to offer an extensive 8-day Egyptian tour to NoFF’s winning submission. Don’t have any video experience? Not to worry – NoFF still wants to see your stories! The festival encourages people of all levels of filmmaking to submit so long as it’s under 15 minutes, non-fiction, and uploaded before April 30th (upload here).

Audiences will vote in five categories: 1) The trip I wish I was on, 2) The trip I’m glad I wasn’t on, 3) The nomad(s) I want to travel with, 4) The most enlightening trip, and 5) Simply put, that trip makes me want to travel, now!

So pack your camera, get out on the road, and find a great story that needs to be shared and you could be on your way to the Land of the Pharaohs.

[Photo by scribs]

Archaelogists discover new sphinx-lined road in Luxor, Egypt

One of 12 new sphinx statues discovered in Luxor, EgyptArchaeologists in Egypt made a surprising new discovery yesterday when they unearthed 12 new sphinxes buried beneath a modern apartment complex in Luxor. Those stone statues were located not far from the famed Sphinx Alley, which is a popular tourist destination and an impressive display of ancient craftsmanship in the city.

The newly discovered road runs along an Egyptian promenade that is thousands of years old and was once used to as part of a ceremony to celebrate the deities Amun and Mut. Until yesterday, the road was only mentioned in a few historical texts, but the discovery is the first solid proof of its existence. The street runs between two spectacular religious sites – Karnak and Luxor Temples, and was likely lined with dozens of Sphinxes when it was first constructed. Under the rule of Cleopatra, the avenue was renovated and eventually it was used by the conquering Romans.

The popular Sphinx Alley is so named for the 850 statues that have already been discovered along that route. Historians believe that more than 1300 of them were in place when it was built under the rule of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III. Those Sphinxes flanked a number of lesser religious sites where worshipers left offerings for the array of gods in the Egyptian pantheon.

The 12 newly discovered Sphinx statues are not in the best condition. Most are missing their heads and all are in varying degrees of disrepair. Despite that however, the statues will go on display to the public for the first at a new open-air museum in February of 2011, giving Egypt even more amazing artifacts to show to the world.

Archaeologists discover buried wall around the Sphinx


Archaeologists excavating at the Sphinx have discovered a 3,400 year-old wall around the famous monument.

The wall was built by the pharaoh Thutmose IV (reigned c. 1401-1391 BC) who had a dream in which the Sphinx told him it was choking on sand. The Sphinx itself was probably built during the reign of the pharaoh Khafra (c. 2558-2532 BC), who also built one of the nearby pyramids at Giza.

The archaeologists also found part of a settlement believed to have been for priests tending the cult of Khafra. Egyptian pharaohs were worshiped as gods and had temples dedicated to them. Some Roman Emperors also had mortuary cults and temples.

Now a modern wall is going up around Giza. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the number one tourist draw in the country, the Supreme Council of Egypt wants to keep away artifact hunters as well as the pushy touts who are one of the few downsides to a trip to Egypt.

[Photo courtesy LadyExpat via Gadling's flickr pool]

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