Teach Through Educational Travel: Sphinxes in Luxor, Egypt

Located in Upper Egypt (which really means south of Cairo), Luxor is a city rich in history. It used to be called Thebes, in ancient times (and the capital of Egypt during the New Kingdom). Now, Luxor is visited by many archaeologists and thousands of visitors each year. Luxor has been called the world’s greatest open air museum, because it holds the temple ruins of Karnak and Luxor. Opposite Luxor on the Nile lies the Necropolis, including the famous Valley of the Kings (Tut!) and Valley of the Queens. The local economy is largely dependent upon tourism.

In the early 2000s, the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) embarked on a project to uncover the famed Avenue of Sphinxes in Luxor, led by Dr. Zahi Hawas. The Avenue of Sphinxes is long – 2,700 meters (and 76 meters wide), and (as you may have guessed) lined with enormous statues of sphinxes. It is the most important archaeological and religious road in Luxor, as it was historically used annually to ferry statues of gods (Amun, Khonsu, and Mut) from the Temple of Amun in Karnak to the temple of Luxor. There were originally 1350 sphinxes. During the excavations, archaeologists have found reliefs and cartouches from Cleopatra and other kings and queens. They also found remains of chapels along the path build by Queen Hatshepsut, as well as Roman buildings.


This lesson was contributed by Jessie Voigts, get to know her! Want more lesson ideas? See last week’s Teach Through Educational Travel: Japan’s Hasedera Kamakura Statues – perfect for your next classroom activity.

Article written by Sarah Wyland

Sarah Wyland
Sarah never gets in trouble for being on Facebook and Instagram at work, because its her job. As social media manager, she gets to tell the stories of travelers, teachers, and interesting places. Other titles she enjoys include dog mom to Knox, barre instructor, Crossfit athlete, avid reader, and world traveler.