Cairo- The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is preparing to inaugurate the royal procession road known as the “Road of Rams” in Luxor Governorate, on Thursday, through a celebration that will take on a global and dazzling character, according to the description of government officials.
During the past few months, Luxor has been present in the local media, as Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has visited it 4 times since last July, in addition to the successive visits of Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Anani.
The visits of government officials, 3 of which were related to inspecting the progress of projects being implemented in the tourism, service and development fields, and the fourth to attend the World Cities Day conference that was held at the end of last October.
The government’s interest and the local media’s momentum in following up on the arrangements for the opening ceremony of the Rams Road, recalls the grand celebration organized by Egypt last April, to accompany the transfer of the mummies of 22 Pharaonic kings from the Egyptian Museum to the Museum of Civilizations, in what was known in the media as the procession of royal mummies.
On more than one occasion, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities conveyed the interest of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in following up on the preparations for the opening ceremony of the Rams Road, and his keenness for the celebration to take place “in a manner befitting the greatness of Egypt,” as he put it.
Al-Anani’s assurances included the appearance of the celebration in a way that fascinates the Egyptians and the whole world, revealing that the ceremony will be different from the procession of the mummies.
On October 12, the Prime Minister stated – during a tour of Luxor Governorate – that the state, with all its agencies, is providing all the necessary capabilities to hold a major celebration to promote the governorate under the title “Luxor in its new dress”, on the sidelines of the completion of the project to revive the Rams Road.
Madbouly added that the projects currently being implemented in several archaeological areas in Luxor will make the city an open museum that attracts the attention of tourists from all over the world.
What is the way of the rams?
The Rams Road is located in Luxor, which was formerly called “Thebes”, which was the capital of Egypt for a long time during the Middle and Modern Pharaonic eras. Ancient Thebes and its tombs were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. According to the official website of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
The Rams Road connects Luxor Temple in the south and Karnak Temple in the north, with a length of 2,750 meters and a width of 76 meters. On its sides are statues dating back more than 3,500 years, numbering 1,059 statues, separated by 4 meters.
The statues of the Way of Rams take two forms: the first is the body of a lion and the head of a human being (the Sphinx), and the second is the form of a ram as a symbol of one of the gods at the pharaohs, Amun-Ra. All the statues rest on stone bases.
King “Amenhotep III” of the Eighteenth Dynasty started the construction of this road, but the bulk of the foundation until the completion of the construction was during the reign of King “Nakhtenbo I”, founder of the Pharaonic Thirty Dynasty, the last dynasty of ancient Egypt.
The ancient Egyptian called the road of rams the name “Wat Nather”, meaning the path of God, and held celebrations in it for several feasts, such as: the coronation of the king, and the feast of Opet, which is the harvest festival of the pharaohs, and it was a way for major royal processions in the ancient time.
In 1949, 8 statues of ram penguins were discovered, and then the rest of the way was discovered by archaeologists until 2006.
With the aim of implementing the project to develop the archaeological rams road and turn the area into an open museum, Prime Minister Decree No. 1408 of 2005 was issued to expropriate 130 properties, which he said were obstructing the path of the road.
Indeed, the real estate was expropriated, along with the removal of the Evangelical Church and two mosques, one of which is the Al-Maqqash Mosque, which is about 350 years old. However, with the outbreak of the January 25, 2011 revolution, government support for tourism and archaeological projects was suspended, which led to the suspension of project implementation. After more than 10 years of initial project implementation, restoration work resumed in 2017.
During the excavation and restoration work on the rams road, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced a number of important archaeological discoveries in the area, such as the discovery of a gauge for the water level of the Nile that was established during the rule of the 25th Pharaonic dynasty, the discovery of complete wine presses, and places for making amulets.
In parallel with the restoration and development of Al-Kabash Road, which was undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Luxor Governorate administration has implemented infrastructure development projects and raised the efficiency of facilities and buildings that serve the tourism sector.
Local media are reporting global media coverage of the upcoming ceremony, as well as inviting ambassadors of a large number of countries to attend the opening of the Rams’ Road.
The Director-General of Karnak Temples, Mustafa al-Saghir, who is supervising the project to revive the Rams Road, explained that the ceremony will be a ceremonial procession and not a funeral show, and it is scheduled to start from the banks of the Nile and reach the Luxor Temple.
He added – in a statement to the Masrawy website – that the ceremonial procession is scheduled to go through the road of rams, accompanied by dancing and lyrical performances in the pharaonic form, and in the manner of the celebrations of ancient Egyptian religious holidays, using modern lighting techniques.
Al-Saghir described the opening of Rams Road as a global event, pointing to its important role in promoting tourism and Egypt’s continuation of the spotlight and global attraction, he said.
For his part, the conductor of the orchestra, which will play during the celebration, Nader Abbasi, said that the members of the orchestra have been preparing over the past period to produce the music accompanying the opening of the Rams Road in a distinctive way, showing the identity of the ancient Egyptian.
Abbasi revealed – during statements to the site of the seventh day – that the concert’s music will be accompanied by ancient hieroglyphic poems written on the walls of Luxor temples, stressing the review of those poems by archaeologists.
Abbasi added that the expected ceremony will be completely different from the procession of the mummies with regard to the rhythms and instruments used, explaining that “the rhythms and instruments will be close to what the ancient Egyptian used on the Feast of the Opet… Do not compare the ceremony with the procession of the mummies, because the latter was a funeral celebration, while the next celebration is a celebration.” It sheds light on life and its beauty, so we will highlight the beauty of Luxor in a big way.”