Scarab
MODERN LUXOR
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LUXOR RENOVATIONS - CENTRAL LUXOR
Connie Tindale
 

Prior to 2006, Station Street, which runs between Luxor Temple and the Railway Station, was a narrow traffic-choked street with the station at one end obscured by a rather dreadful imitation of a Japanese garden and Luxor Temple at the other end obscured by what appeared to be a very large upturned Christmas Pudding and litter-strewn public garden. The public garden did provide a green area in the centre of town but that was not entirely satisfactory compensation for the loss of the view of the temple.

 
Station StreetStation StreetStation Street
The road surface was removed so that new drains could be installed and the whole of one side of the street was demolished

When work first started in Station Street, initially it looked as though the situation was going to get worse rather than better as the whole area closely resembled a bomb site. Looking toward the station, the first thing that happened was the tearing up of the road and the demolition of all the buildings on the right-hand side of the street. Some of these buildings were old and attractive and their loss could be mourned but others were either mud brick enclosed rubbish sites or concrete monstrosities which were more of an eyesore than an asset. The demolition of these buildings allowed the road to be widened so that it could cope with the increased traffic.

 
station streetStation StreetStation Street
 
The work progressed slowly as renovations had started on other areas of Luxor, mainly around Luxor Temple itself, the inside of the Railway Station and clearance of buildings which obscured Karnak Temple. In addition to this work the vital drainage scheme that was being installed to save Luxor Temple from decay was well under way. The effect was to make many of Luxor's main street almost impassable. However, as things eventually began to take shape a wide modern tree lined Avenue began to take shape. The street was lined with attractive trees and lampposts, all the buildings were painted a sand colour and new signs were placed on the shops. To compensate for the loss of businesses, new shop premises were built close to the station.
 
Station streetStation StreetStation street
The station itself was greatly improved and the dingy interior of the booking hall was transformed in a light airy place with stained glass and columns that fitted Luxor's ancient traditional architecture. The outside of the building had a complete facelift with the addition of a fine eagle above the entrance. The old Japanese style garden, which had never actually been completed, was replaced with a colourful roundabout that was visually pleasing and served its purpose.The site of a tatty 'corner shop' alongside a dilapidated garage became a purpose built Information Centre, which replaced the one on the soon to be demolished site next to the Winter Palace.
Tourist Information CentrestationStation
The exterior and interior of the station were both renovated and the area outside improved with the building of the new Information Centre.

Following work on Station Street, work started almost immediately on what has become known as 'Twinky Street' because of its famous cake shop. This street joins Salah el Din Street to the station and was even narrower and more traffic choked than Station Street had been. There was an endless stream of service cars, donkey carts and cars travelling along it with businesses trying to ply their trade on either side. The same planning that had been applied to Station Street was applied to this street with great effect. Looking toward the station from Salah el Din, all the premises on the left-hand side of the street were demolished. The old road was lifted to install new drains, the remaining buildings were painted a sand colour and the widened street was turned into a dual carriage-way which meant that the service cars could be re-routed away from Luxor's narrower streets making them safer and the bus services more efficient. The photos shown below of the work in progress were taken in February 2008 and those of the finished street were taken in September 2008..

Twinky StreetTwinky StreetTwinky Street
Work began in 'Twinky Street' in late 2007 and was finished in the summer of 2008
Twinky StreetTwinky StreetTwinky Street
 
Although the renovations caused great disruptions to business and to traffic flow, and Luxor was said by some to have lost its charm, the results of the renovations speak for themselves. Luxor is now becoming a city worthy of its place in the tourist market and as the largest open-air museum in the world.
 
karnak area
   
 
west bank