"... This month sees the opening of the mind-boggling Avenue of the Sphinxes on the east bank of the Nile River, a promenade of 1,350 lionlike statues that once linked the opulent temples of Karnak and Luxor. Though archeologists weren’t able to unearth the entire avenue—it would have destroyed much of the modern town of Luxor built atop the ruin—a sizable portion of the alleyway was uncovered, exposing 900 original statues. Also on view are the remains of a Roman village on the site, complete with a large-production bakery, a wine factory, and a residential neighborhood, as well as several unearthed cartouches of Cleopatra, which experts believe prove she visited the grand avenue.
Also this month, Abusir, situated just outside Cairo between Giza and the vast burial ground of Saqqara, will open, showcasing a collection of 11 pyramids that have long been off limits to tourists. Just south of Saqqara, less than an hour’s drive from Cairo, the NK Cemetery has been revealed, allowing access to its painted tombs of the less-famous (though not less extraordinary) royal family members Maya and Horemheb.
Saqqara itself deserves a serious visit. It’s home to the stunning 4,700-year-old step pyramid of Djoser, which will also open late this summer for interior tours. There are 16 pyramids on the site, in varying degrees of dilapidation. Even those that look like piles of rock can offer good examples of pyramid advancement. There’s early graffiti painted on a tomb wall, likely left by hoodlums during Jesus’ time. Most impressive, though, is the hewn-stone building complex—once used as gathering spots and administrative offices for the pharaoh and his cronies—considered to be the oldest of its kind remaining anywhere on earth. Strolling through the complex, you can easily imagine what the village must have looked like abuzz with robed ancient Egyptians instead of today’s fanny-packed sightseers.
A visit to Saqqara and Abusir could also include a look at the 4,600-year-old bent pyramid of Dahshur, thought to be the first true flat-sided pyramid. The bent pyramid’s interior chambers will finally be opened to tourists this December. That same month, visitors to the very recognizable pyramids of Giza will find that the touristy camel and horseback rides, along with the trinket salesmen and most of the panhandlers, are gone, replaced by wide-open spaces and slender paved roads to accommodate electric trams. “We’re cleaning up the site,” says Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. “We are finally giving these great pyramids the respect they deserve, and changing them from a zoo to a preserved park.”..."