Skip to main content

Egypt to announce opening of world’s largest open museum in Luxor governorate

As part of Egypt’s efforts to boost tourism, the Ministry of Antiquities bets on the restoration of El-Kebash Road in Luxor, which is one of the biggest open-air archaeological sites in the world.
Tourists visit the Karnak Temple Complex, Luxor, Egypt, March 10, 2020.

Egypt is putting the final touch to the opening ceremony of the Great Processional Way (El-Kebash Road), which will be held in Luxor in November. It will be the world's largest open-air museum, according to the Egyptian government.

On Aug. 24, Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly visited El-Kebash Road in Luxor governorate to inspect the preparations for the grand opening in November.

This was not Madbouly’s first visit to El-Kebash Road. On July 6, he visited Luxor to follow up on the restoration works of the ancient road and the Karnak and Luxor temples. Madbouly said that the development and restoration project is among the most important antiquities-related projects that Egypt is currently working on and aims to make Luxor the largest open-air museum in the world.

According to Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani, El-Kebash is about 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles) long, and stretches from the Karnak Temple, through the Temple of Mut, to the Luxor Temple. He noted that it consists of a sandstone walkway with sphinx statues on both sides, in addition to other architectural elements dating back to different periods.

Egypt plans for a festival to celebrate the inauguration. Mustafa el-Saghir, director of Karnak Temples and general supervisor of the Grand Processional Way project, said Aug. 25, “It is going to be a big opening ceremony befitting the event. Experts inspected the road and the Karnak and Luxor temples to develop a final vision for the opening that will bring the world’s attention to Egypt. The ceremony will revive the Grand Processional Way, by celebrating an important feast in ancient Egypt. Celebrations will also be held on the Nile River and will be attended by the locals and anyone interested in archaeology.”

Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, said that 98% of the works related to the Pharaonic road have been completed, and that the final touches will be made in the coming weeks in preparation for the big festival that befits Luxor and Egypt.

Waziri told the press Aug. 27 that the Grand Processional Way project serves as an open-air museum that will attract tourists to Egypt.

He explained that the Grand Processional Way festival involves a parade and ornamented Nile boat show, with banners celebrating El-Kebash Road and the Egyptian civilization. At dawn on the day of the ceremony, hot air balloons carrying Egyptian flags, photos of the road [and those in charge of the mega-project in Luxor will be flying.”

He added, “What makes this project so special is that since its inception it has been 100% Egyptian.”

The construction of the Great Processional Way took nearly 1,000 years, and served as a center for celebrations in ancient Egypt. Called the "Avenue of Sphinxes," it has many more types of statues among its 1,200 statues, including many bearing ram features. The importance of the road decreased with time, and some of the statues’ head were broken; churches and mosques were also build alongside the road.

The history of excavation work on the Great Processional Way began in 1949, with Egyptian archaeologist Zakaria Ghoneim who discovered the beginning of the road in the 1950s. In the 1960s, Egyptian archaeologist Mohammad Abdel Razzak discovered the remains of the road at Luxor Temple. Other remains of the road were discovered in front of the temple and at its center, and next to Karnak Temple in the 1980s and 1990s.

In 2005, the project to turn Luxor governorate into the biggest open-air museum in the world was announced. As the project to restore the road was completed, the state decided to remove the mosques and churches that were built alongside the road.

The project was halted once more due to the January 25 Revolution in 2011, when 70% of the works had been completed. In 2017, the state decided to resume the project.

During the excavation works, there were recent discoveries, including a nilometer dating back to the 25th Pharaonic dynasty’s rule, wine presses, flower planters and a number of manufacturing sites. 

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gives great attention to the project. He had a meeting with the prime minister in May, along with other ministers, to discuss the latest news on the development of the ancient road.

Abdel Rahim Rihan, director general of the Department of Research, Archaeological Studies and Academic Publication in South Sinai at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, told Al-Monitor, “The world awaits the big festival that will be held for the first time in history at the Great Processional Way, following the inauguration and the revival of the celebration of Opet.”

He said, “The Opet Festival was a major event in ancient Egypt. It was an annual celebration held in Thebes [Luxor] from the modern era onward.”

Rihan concluded, “The city of Luxor where the festival will be held is the ancient city of Thebes. It is one of the most important cities in ancient Egypt and the city that has the most Pharaonic antiquities. Thebes was the religious and political capital of the country for a long period of time in Egypt’s history.”

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

The Middle East in your inbox Insights in your inbox.

Deepen your knowledge of the Middle East

Trend Reports

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (4th R) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22, 2019. (Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

From roads to routers: The future of China-Middle East connectivity

A general view shows the solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, on March 29, 2018. - On March 27, Saudi announced a deal with Japan's SoftBank to build the world's biggest solar plant. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Regulations on Middle East renewable energy industry starting to take shape

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial