Thursday, March 31, 2016

News: Luxor Temples to Go Blue for World Autism Awareness Day

CAIRO: Luxor and Queen Hatshepsut temples will be lit up in blue Saturday evening in honor of World Autism Awareness Day; Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr was quoted by Youm7.

In addition to the historical sites in Luxor, the governorate’s administrative building and the main hotels will also turn blue to mark the day, Badr told Youm7.

“The event aims at providing people around children with autism with simple understanding of autism’s basic elements which will result in an important impact on the children’s ability to proceed towards productive, independent adulthood,” said Badr.

The Egyptian Autistic Society founder Dalia Soliman said Egypt has been taking part in the global event for the past five years but Luxor’s debut participation in the international event will help raise awareness of the importance of supporting children who live with autism.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Cairo Tower, Suez Canal Authority building, Qasr Al-Aini hospital and the 57357 Hospital for children with cancer are among other landmarks participating in the event, said Soliman.

Last year, Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx were among Egyptian historical sites turned blue on April 2 to mark the event.
Source: Cairo Post - By/ Rany Mostafa

News: ETF Prepares to Participate in Tourism Investment Forum in Dubai

Arab inbound tourism to Egypt must not fall to less than 3 million visitors a year, says ETF chairman. The Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF) is preparing to participate in the tourism investment forum in Dubai at the end of April, according to ETF chairman Elhamy El-Zayat.

The forum is a good opportunity to showcase Egyptian tourism products in the UAE and Gulf markets, to lift the travel movement to Egypt annually, El-Zayat said.

Former minister of tourism Hisham Zazou intended to participate in the forum with a series of projects and marketing plans to increase tourist traffic flow from the Gulf countries during the coming period.

Arab tourism represents 20% of the total influx to Egypt annually, according to the Ministry of Tourism, though it contributed less than 15% of this in the past two years.

Egypt’s share of Arab tourism still does not meet the aspirations of employees in the tourism sector who hope that Egypt receives a large share. Arab inbound tourism to Egypt must not fall to less than 3 million visitors a year in order for the industry to survive.

El-Zayat believes Arab tourists are the highest spenders among the different nationalities coming to Egypt.  According to the chairman, their expenses’ rate exceeds $130 per night; they also stay for long periods in Egypt and visit approximately three times a year.

Economic Adviser to the Minister of Tourism Adla Ragab said many tourist programmes were launched for Arab tourists over the past year, especially for those from UAE and Saudi Arabia. These programmes increased the influx during the summer months by more than 20%.

The Ministry of Tourism is studying the provision of further incentives for Arab tourism during the current year. It is expected that this will increase Egypt’s share of this market as it already has the advantages of culture, geographical proximity and political rapprochement between the Gulf countries and Egypt, according to Ragab.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

News: New Scans of King Tut’s Tomb to Begin Thursday - Statement

CAIRO: A new round of scans of the tomb of Tutankhamen will start Thursday, the Antiquities Ministry announced Wednesday. “Digital ground-penetrating radar (GPR) works at the tomb are to start on Thursday at 5:00p.m., right after the official visiting hours of the Valley of the Kings,” according to the statement.

Antiquities Minister Khaled Al Anany will hold a news conference in front of the tomb at the Valley of the Kings Friday at 2:00 p.m. to announce the results of the GPR, the statement added.

In late November, a Japanese team of radar specialists started a non-invasive radar survey on the pharaoh’s tomb to verify a theory by British archaeologist Nicholas Reeve that Queen Nefertiti’s crypt may be hidden behind King Tutankhamen’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.

“There is, in fact, an empty space behind the wall based on radar, which is very accurate, there is no doubt,” head of the Japanese team Hirokatsu Watanabe said in a news conference in late November.

The scan has revealed the presence of two empty spaces behind two walls in King Tut’s burial chamber, former Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al Damaty announced March 17. “The scan points to different things behind the walls, different material that could be metal, or could be organic,” he said.

Reeves believes that Tutankhamen’s tomb was originally occupied by Nefertiti and that she lies undisturbed behind what he believes is a partition wall. Reeves’s theory was developed after he examined ultra-high resolution images published by Factume Arte; an art replication establishment that created a facsimile of Tutankhamen’s burial chamber in 2014.

In the images, Reeves noted some cracks in the northern and eastern walls of the tomb. He suggested they mark two passages leading to Nefertiti’s tomb that were blocked, plastered and painted.

“The construction of Tutankhamen’s tomb was not completed when the young Pharaoh unexpectedly died at the age of 19, thus the tomb of Nefertiti who had died 10 years earlier, was partially adopted for Tutankhamen’s royal burial,” Reeves said briefing his theory to reporters at the Egyptian State Information Service (SIS) in September 2015. Among the other clues is that neither the tomb nor the mummy of Nefertiti has been found.

“We said earlier there was a 60 percent chance there is something behind the walls. But now after the initial reading of the scans, we are saying now its 90 percent likely there is something behind the walls,” Damaty said earlier this year. If the scholars were able to prove their theory, “this would be a new step that could lead us to a most significant archeological discovery in the 21st Century,” he added.
Source: Cairo Post - By/ Rany Mostafa

News, Giza: Egypt's Antiquities Minister Inspects Major Cairo Museums

The minister of antiquities went on an inspection tour to the Grand Egyptian Museum overlooking Giza Plateau and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation at Fustat. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

El-Enany with Tawfik at the GEM's laboratory 
(Courtesy of the Ministry of Antiquities)
Three days after taking the post of Minister of Antiquities, Khaled El-Enany paid a visit today to the two "museums of the century"; the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking the Giza Plateau and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC).

The aim of the visits was to push forward all construction and preparation works that have been put on halt for the lack of budget and find solutions to any problems the projects are facing, as well as removing obstacles standing in the way of the completion of preparations.

During his tour at the GEM, El-Enany inspected the different phases of preparation and met with the GEM general supervisor Tarek Tawfik and members of the engineering committee of the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces.

El-Enany announced that he would very soon provide solutions to all technical problems in order to ensure the museum opens in the scheduled time.

"Rationalisation of expenditure without affecting the technical and scientific qualifications of the GEM is the recent motto of the ministry in order to complete the museum which is one of Egypt's mega project and one of the country's weapon to face all recent challenge," El-Enany told Ahram Online.

El-Enany inspecting the hall at the NMEC (Courtesy of the Ministry of Antiquities)
He added that he highly appreciates the important role and professionalism the museum's restorers have displayed in preserving and protecting the artefacts being restored in the museum's restoration laboratories.

At the NMEC, El-Enany inspected preparations for the temporary exhibition hall to open within six months.

The hall is designated for the display of a collection of artefacts to be exhibited permanently at the museum in order to attract more patrons before its official opening, as well as provide money to aid with museum works.

El-Enany also met with cultural responsible at UNESCO Cairo office, Ciara Berdiski in order to put a programme to train curators to develop their technical and scientific skills.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Short Story: How The Discovery in King Tut’s Tomb Could Change The History of Ancient Egypt ( part 1)

On what recent scan results tell us about ancient Egypt and Egyptology,It seems very likely that there are two unexplored chambers beyond the walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb, based on the March 17 announcement by Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities of recent radar scan results.

This discovery is more than just a sensational archaeological find, however, because the start of Tutankhamun’s reign is the focus of one of Egyptology’s most intensely debated periods. An untested hypothesis by Nicholas Reeves of the University of Arizona suggests the new discovery indicates his tomb originally belonged to Nefertiti.

Tutankhamun and Nefertiti are connected through King Akhenaten, who ruled for 17 years, from about 1352 – 1336 BCE: Nefertiti was the "great royal wife" of Akhenaten and Tutankhamun was his second successor. But the history is not as simple as it sounds.

3 questions
Three key questions about the lives and deaths of both Tutankhamun and Nefertiti hint at the potential magnitude of these hidden chambers for our understanding of ancient Egyptian history.

First, we do not know what happened to Nefertiti. No texts after the 16th year of Akhenaten’s reign mention her, and we have not found her burial site. Second, it’s unclear who succeeded Akhenaten for the few years between his death and Tutankhamun’s reign. Third, we don’t conclusively know who Tutankhamun’s parents were and or how he came to the throne.

Akhenaten rejected thousands of years of polytheistic religion in Egypt to focus worship on one god, the sun disc Aten, leading many to consider him the first monotheist. He solidified the new religion by building a new capital and court at a completely untouched site called Amarna in the low desert, east of Minya. During his reign, Nefertiti held extensive power, both as great royal wife and as a key point of access to the Aten. Ancient depictions of Nefertiti are unusual and relate to the broader changes caused by drastic social and political reform, but she was portrayed as a strong queen and almost an equal to Akhenaten, adopting regalia and iconography associated with kingship, even driving a chariot.

For many years, Egyptologists thought that in year 12 of Akhenaten’s reign, Nefertiti disappeared, because we had no inscriptions of the queen after that date. Speculation as to the reason ranged from early death, to losing Akhenaten’s affections and being exiled. In 2012, however, a Belgian team published an inscription recently discovered at Deir al-Bersha that records Nefertiti (with the title of great royal wife) alive and well in year 16 of Akhenaten’s reign. One piece of missing evidence can drastically change our understanding of the history of ancient Egypt.

But we still don’t know what happened to Nefertiti after Akhenaten’s death in year 17 of his reign. Akhenaten’s religious experiment failed after his death and the cults of the old gods were reinstated. The post-Akhenaten backlash was extensive. Many of his monuments (and those of his associates) were defaced in an effort to erase his name, making it difficult to reconstruct the events of his successors’ reigns.

3 mysterious names
The mystery of who succeeded Akhenaten prior to Tutankhamun lies in the person or people who went by the names of Neferneferuaten and Smenkhkare. It’s complicated, because each king and queen could be known by several names.

Three names are key here: Nefertiti Neferneferuaten (Nefertiti’s full name), Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten (Neferneferuaten for short) and Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare (called Smenkhkare, also for ease). For three to four years immediately before and right after Akhenaten’s death, Neferneferuaten and Smenkhkare became either king or co-regent — the official successor, who shared joint rule for the last few years of the king’s life. We don’t concretely know the identities of Neferneferuaten and Smenkhkare, but it’s immediately apparent that these three names are connected through the names Neferneferuaten and Ankhkheperure.

One of the scans examined by Nicholas Reeves
Much ink has been spilled trying to sort out the identity and political status of these people and the sequence of events surrounding their reigns. Neferneferuaten took power some time around the end of Akhenaten’s reign. Inscriptional evidence makes it reasonably clear that he or she held power for three years at most, but whether as sole ruler or a co-regent is hotly debated.

The really exciting thing here is that some Egyptologists argue Neferneferuaten could actually be Nefertiti. At some point, Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten’s name was changed to Ankhetkheperure Neferneferuaten. That “t” seems to holds a vital clue: As the “t” was a feminine ending in ancient Egyptian language, many scholars suggest Neferneferuaten was a woman. She could be Nefertiti for many reasons, including the shared second name, Neferneferuaten. If so, she must have depicted herself as a male to take on the office of kingship — a similar move to the reign of the famous Queen Hatshepsut. So Nefertiti might have briefly been the king of Egypt before Tutankhamun.

As for Smenkhkare, he or she suddenly appears in the historical record with no clue as to parentage or relationship to Akhenaten. Based on ancient texts, Smenkhkare was in power for roughly one year, but again we’re unsure if this was as sole king or co-regent. Some scholars see Smenkhkare as a male relative of Akhenaten, possibly half-brother or son, who ruled as sole king. Another group agrees that Smenkhkare was king and successor of Akhenaten, but say Smenkhkare was Nefertiti taking on a new name as she ascended to the throne. In this case, Nefertiti was first Nefertiti (great royal wife), then Neferneferuaten (co-regent to Akhenaten) and finally Smenkhkare (sole king). A third group argues that Smenkhkare lived before Neferneferuaten and never actually became king. This sees Smenkhkare as Akhenaten’s male co-regent who was being groomed to maintain the Aten religion, but disappeared from the record (perhaps dying prematurely), leaving Akhenaten to elevate Nefertiti to successor with the new name Neferneferuaten. There’s not enough evidence to confidently support any of these theories.

If the tombs of Neferneferuaten or Smenkhkare, with any associated inscriptions, tomb paintings and funerary objects, are ever discovered, light would surely be shed onto these mysteries........ Read More.

Re-Opening, Cairo: Egypt's Museum of Islamic Art Regains its Allure After Two-Year Restoration

El-Enany (left) Salah (right) in the MIA tour 
(Courtesy of the Ministry of Antiquities)
The Museum of Islamic Art is to be open in April after three years of closing for restoration. Written By/ Nevine El Aref.

After two years of closing, Cairo's Museum of Islamic Art will officially be inaugurated in April, Minster of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany announced Sunday during a tour of the museum to inspect restoration and rehabilitation works.

El-Enany pointed out that the "restoration and the opening of the museum embodies the collaboration efforts exerted on the local and international level to stand against any kind of terrorism that aims to erase Egypt's distinguished identity and civilisation."

Elham Salah, head of the ministry's Museums Department who escorted the minister during his visit, told Ahram Online that 95 per cent of the restoration works have been completed.

El-Enany at the MIA facade (Up) - El-Enany gives instruction during
his MIA tour  (Down) - (Courtesy of the Ministry of Antiquities)
The façade, building and halls have been restored and new state-of-the-art security and lighting systems were installed. All the pedestals carrying large artefacts and display cases were also replaced.

Salah said that the collection is being arranged in its original position with the exception of the souvenir hall, previously located at the centre of the museum, “which will now be relocated to another place at the end of the visitors’ path outside the museum.”

A hall displaying Islamic coins and weapons was built along with another hall for Islamic manuscripts. One hall exhibits the daily life of people down the Islamic ages through instruments and children’s toys.

“After the addition of these objects, the museum's collection increased to 5,000 artefacts from 1,874 items,” Salah said, adding that among the items are 2,000 coins.

The museum was damaged by a car bomb explosion in January 2014 targeting the adjacent Cairo Security Directorate on Port Said Street in Bab El-Khalq neighbourhood. The explosion blew a six-metre crater into Port Said Street and ripped into the façade of the two-storey museum building, whose second floor is shared with the National Library and Archives.
More About Islamic Art Museum News Click Here 

News: Gala Ceremony to Celebrate 60th Anniversary of Archaeological Documentation Centre Today

The poster of the celebration
(Courtesy of the Ministry of Antiquities)
A Gala Celebration is to be held to mark the 60th anniversary of Egypt's Archaeological Documentation Centre in Zamalek. Written By/ Nevine El Aref.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Egypt's Archaeological Documentation Centre, the antiquities ministry is organising a gala ceremony today morning at its premises in Zamalek.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany explained that the idea of establishing the centre started after launching the Salvage Nubia Campaign in 1960, in order to document Nubian temples before their relocation amid the construction of the Aswan High Dam.

After completing its work on Nubian temples, the centre continued to document archaeological sites and objects all over Egypt. "Recently the centre is documenting and register all stored papyri, after the establishment of a papyri section within its echelon," El-Enany pointed out.

Hesham El-Leithy, general director of the Archaeological Documentation Centre, said that during the celebration a number of renowned Egyptian archaeologists and Egyptologists are to be honoured for the important role they have played in protecting and preserving Egypt's heritage.

Among them, he announced, are Fayza Heikal, Zeinab Al-Kordi and Abdel Azizi Sadek, as well as the former director of the centre. A film relating the story of the centre and its work over the past 60 years is to be screened.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

News, Giza: El-Enany Inspects the Giza Plateau Project

The antiquities minister embarked on an inspection tour to check on latest work undertaken to develop the world famous site. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

El-Enany (left)and Afifi (right) during the visit to Giza Plateau
(courtesy of the Ministry of Antiquities)
Soon after swearing the oath, newly appointed Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany paid a visit this morning to the Giza Plateau to inspect development works at the site.

El-Enany was joined by Minister of Tourism Yehya Rashid and Giza Governor Kamal Aldaly in order to draw up a plan to strengthen cooperation between both ministries and the governorate, to remove any obstacle in the way of the completion of the Giza Plateau development project.

Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department, told Ahram Online that El-Enany visited King Farouk resthouse and the location of King Khufu's second solar boat as well as the plateau visitor centre located on the Giza-Fayoum road.

Afifi added that the minister, during his inspection tour, gave orders to the head of Giza inspectorate to provide archaeologists and inspectors in every inch in the plateau and Saqqara necropolis, at opening times, in order to escort Egyptian and foreign visitors and explain the site archaeologically and historically to them free of charge.

Afifi told Ahram Online that the ministry gave this order in an attempt to raise visitors awareness and keenness to protect and preserve Egypt's ancient heritage and civilization.
Construction work at the visitor centre          -        At king Farouk rest-house         -       At King Khufu's second solar boat 
(Courtesy of the Ministry of Antiquities)
Source: Ahram Online

Friday, March 25, 2016

News, Aswan: Stone Removed from Ancient Egyptian Temple for Star of David Graffiti

 The monolith removed from an ancient shrine in Aswan for having 
a "modern" Star of David reliefs. 
CAIRO: A senior official at the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry ordered the removal of a monolith from a 2,300 year old shrine located on Aswan’s Elephantine Island for having two Stars of David carved into it, Youm7 reported Thursday.

Mahmoud Afifi, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department instructed the German archaeological mission, currently excavating at the Elephantine Island, to remove the monolith and submit a detailed report on how and when these reliefs were carved on the ancient monolith.

“We are not sure about the date when these graffiti were added to the monolith. I rule out that this was made by a member of the German archaeological mission,” Afifi told Youm7.

Veteran tour guide Magdy Abdel Mohsen believed the reliefs are new.  “A group of tourists are believed to have defaced the block by drawing the Stars of David on it,” Abdel Mohsen told The Cairo Post Thursday.

“The last time I have visited the site was 2004 and I do not remember seeing the reliefs,” said Abdel Mohsen.

Elephantine is an island in the western bank of the Nile River in Aswan. The southern tip of the island, which was built over a core of natural rounded granite boulders, is the site of an ancient settlement, Abdel Mohsen said. It is also the site of ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman (332 B.C.-395A.D.) temples and shrines dedicated to God Knonum.
Source: Cairo Post - By/ Rany Mostafa

Thursday, March 24, 2016

News, Alexandrina: Bibliotheca Alexandrina Restores 100 Byzantine-Era Manuscripts

Manuscripts Center At Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
CAIRO: A total 100 manuscripts from the collection of the Alexandria-based Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral are set to be restored and digitally documented at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Youm7 reported.

Dating back to Egypt’s Byzantine era (395-642,) the collection will be restored by a team of specialists in the Manuscripts Center, Director of the Manuscript Museum at Bibliotheca Alexandrina Mohamed Soliman told Youm7 Thursday.

He added that the center has signed a memorandum of understanding with the cathedral to restore the rare manuscripts at an estimated cost of 1.3 million EGP ($145,000.)

The Manuscripts Center contains a diverse collection of original manuscripts, most important of which is the Alexandria Municipal Library manuscripts, in addition to the donated collections: Sheikh al-Hosary’s manuscripts, the manuscripts of the Holy Quran Memorization Society in Damanhur, the Malta Library illustrated manuscripts, and several manuscripts donated by individuals, said Soliman.

Short Story: Boat Discovery Sheds Light

A recently discovered 4,500-year-old non-royal boat in the Abusir necropolis is shedding new light on watercraft construction in ancient Egypt, reports Nevine El-Aref.

Scholars have long debated the purpose of ancient Egyptian boat burials. Did they serve the deceased in the afterlife? Or might they have functioned as symbolic solar barques used during the journey of the owner through the underworld?

The Old Kingdom kings adopted the earlier tradition and often had several boats buried within their pyramid complexes. Unfortunately, most of the pits that have been found are empty of timber, while others contain little more than brown dust in the shape of the original boat. The only exceptions are the two boats of the First Dynasty king Khufu, and these have been reconstructed or are in the process of reconstruction. However, no boat of such dimensions from the Old Kingdom has been found in a non-royal context until the newly discovered boat at Abusir.

Last December, a Czech archaeological mission from Charles University in Prague stumbled upon what is believed to be the first remains of a non-royal ancient Egyptian wooden boat ever found. The discovery was made during excavation work at the Abusir necropolis, in an area south of a still unidentified non-royal mastaba tomb identified as AS54.

Miroslav Bárta, the leader of the mission, told Al-Ahram Weekly that this unexpected discovery once again highlights the importance of this Old Kingdom official cemetery. He said that the excavation work that led to this important discovery started in 2009 on mastaba tomb AS54 and had been followed by several seasons of excavations.

The tomb’s exceptional size (52.60 metres by 23.80 metres), orientation, architectural details, as well as the name of the Third Dynasty king Huni discovered on one of the stone bowls buried in the northern underground chamber, indicated the high social standing of the person buried in the main and so far unlocated shaft, he said.

“Unfortunately, his name remains unknown due to the bad state of preservation of the cruciform chapel,” Barta said. He added that clearance work in the area south of the tomb during the autumn excavation season, from October to December 2015, had revealed an 18-metre-long wooden boat.

“Although the boat is situated almost 12 metres south of the tomb, its orientation, length and the pottery collected from its interior make a clear connection between the structure and the vessel, as both are dated to the very end of the Third or beginning of the Fourth Dynasty, or around 2550 BCE,” Bárta said. While extremely fragile, the roughly 4,500-year-old planks should shed new light on boat construction in ancient Egypt. The wooden planks were joined by wooden pegs that are still visible in their original positions.

Extraordinarily, the desert sand has preserved the plant-fibre battens of the boat that covered the planking seams. Some of the ropes that bound the boat together are also still in their original position, with all their details intact.

“It is really a unique discovery in the study of ancient Egyptian boats,” Bárta told the Weekly. He said that all the minute details are of the highest importance, since most ancient Egyptian boats and ships have survived either in a poor state of preservation or have been dismantled..... Read More. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Back Home, Brussels: Stolen Ancient Egyptian Statue on its Way Back from Belgium

The Bust of The Newly Recovered Statue
(courtesy of the Ministry of Antiquities)
The artifact is being returned to Egypt two years after it was discovered at a Belgian auction house. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Egyptian embassy in Brussels, Belgium received an Egyptian Middle Kingdom statue as a preliminary step in bringing back to Egypt, said Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty.

The antiquities ministry has undertaken significant efforts in collaboration with all concerned international authorities in order to bring home the artifact, successfully proving its ownership and identifying how it was smuggled out of Egypt after being obtained through illegal digging.

The general supervisor of the ministry's Repatriated Antiquities Department, Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, said that the statue was discovered at a Belgian auction house in 2014.

The statue is made of black steatite stone, representing a standing couple (a man and a woman) with hieroglyphic inscriptions on the base referring to the name and title of the statue owner, according to Abdel-Gawad.
To Read All Back Home Antiquities Posts Click Here 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

News: Siwa Claims Solar Alignment at Ancient Temples on Spring Equinox

CAIRO: The spring equinox was witnessed Monday by a number of tourists and Egyptians at the Timasirayn Temple in Siwa Oasis, from which spectators were able to see a claimed rediscovery of a solar alignment with the said temple and the Amun Temple, 12 kilometers to the west in a straight line.

If officially recognized by the Antiquities Ministry, locals hope this solar alignment in the oasis in the far west of Egypt could become as well-known as the Abu Simbel biannual solar alignment in Aswan, southern Egypt.

The phenomenon is “not a coincidence,” as it occurs at an axis of two temples and not regular structures, and the distance between them is long enough to rule out hypothesis, procreative director Dustin Donaldson, who says has delivered lectured  on ancient symbolism to university professors in San Francisco Bay Area for 12 years, told The Cairo Post.

The equinox occurs biannually, on March 20-21 and Sept. 22-23, depending on whether it is a leap year, marking the only two days a year where the day and night are equal.

Although the phenomenon has not yet been recognized by the Antiquities Ministry, head of the Siwa Antiquities Authority Dr. Abdul Aziz al-Dumeiry, who attended the spring equinox on site, told The Cairo Post he recognizes the discovery and that it is “not a coincidence.”

American-Canadian Donaldson, who has lived in Egypt for 3.5 years, and creative director Robynn Iwata “discovered” the alignment and claim they, along with Siwans who saw the phenomenon with them in the past few occurrences, are the first to observe it in 2,000 years.

The Amun Oracle belongs to the 26th Dynasty, 664 BC-525 BC, while the precise history of Timasirayn Temple, also known as Ma’aser Temple, is disputed; inspector at the Siwa Antiquities Authority Omar Hamza told The Cairo Post it belongs to the Roman era in Egypt.

Monday, March 21, 2016

New Opening, Minya: Tel Al-Amarna Visitors Centre in Minya Opens

Statue of King Akhenaten & A Replica of A Temple's Gate
(courtesy of the ministry of antiquities)
The visitors centre in Minya highlights the distinguished era of monotheistic King Akhenaten. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

In a bid to promote tourism in Egypt, especially in the Upper Egypt city of Minya, Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty inaugurated yesterday the Tel Al-Amarna Visitors Centre.

The centre highlights the reign of monotheistic King Akhnaten, considered one the country's most important and fascinating eras in the span of ancient Egyptian history.

Eldamaty explained that the centre puts on show replicas of King Akhenaten's tomb, along with a collection of fully furnished palaces and houses of this distinguished era.
Eldamaty During The Opening
(courtesy of the ministry of antiquities)
A collection of statues of King Akhenaten and his wife, Queen Nefertiti, are also on show, along with busts of their daughters. A three-metre tall statue of King Akhenaten is located in the centre's entrance gate, to welcome visitors.

"It is a very important project built by the Ministry of Antiquities," Mahmoud Affifi, head of the ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the ministry, told Ahram Online, adding that it will extend a hand to promote local and international tourism, as the centre displays a replica of Tel Al-Amarna town with its streets, houses, palaces and temples.

Wadalla Abu El-Ela, head of the minstry's Projects Department, explained that the centre is 10,000 square metres large and was built at a cost of EGP 44 million. It consists of a display area, a service building, a cafeteria, a library and a parking lot.

Replica of Furniture of an Amarna House
(courtesy of the ministry of antiquities)
During the opening ceremony, Eldamaty said that work on the Aten Museum and Malawi National Museum are at full swing, and that news to the contrary is false.

It was published today that the Aten Museum, which highlights the history of the King Akhenatun era and his capital, Akhtaten, was subject to encroachment and construction work stopped.

Similar claims were made on the Malawi National Museum, which was subjected to looting and deterioration in 2013, during violence that followed the dispersal of sit-ins by supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi at Rabaa Al-Adawiya in Cairo’s Nasr City district and Al-Nahda Square in Giza.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

News: 4 Egyptian Tour Operators Participate in WTM Latin America

CAIRO: Four Egyptian travel agencies will participate in the fourth edition of the 2016 World Trade Market (WTM) Latin America, scheduled for March 29-31 in São Paulo, Al Ahram reported. “The Egyptian pavilion section at the exhibit covers an area of 90 square meters with a design reflects the Egyptian heritage and culture,” Gawaher Youssef, consul-director of the Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA) in New York & Montreal was quoted by Al Ahram.

The three-day event, which will feature business to business meetings, will be a good opportunity for the participant Egyptian tour operators to promote travel deals with reasonable rates to attract tourists from the promising Latin America market, said Gawaher. Latin America accounted for 72 percent of annual incoming tourism to Egypt, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism report issued in 2010. Egypt’s tourism sector, which represents 11 percent of the country’s GDP, has been suffering from ongoing shocks ever since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Despite a few instances of apparent recovery, continuous instability, political turmoil and a lack of security have remained challenges to the sector. The Tourism Ministry is intensifying its marketing campaigns in the main tourism exporting markets to Egypt through Facebook and approximately 2,000 bloggers, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou told Al-Ahram in 2015.

An Egyptian tourism delegation headed for France Wednesday to take part in the 41at edition of the Salon Mondial du Tourisme; an International tourism fair in Paris March 17-20, Al Ahram reported. Egypt also participated in the Berlin’s International Tourism Bourse (ITB), a world leading travel trade show organized earlier this month.
Source: Cairo Post - By/ The Cairo Post

News: Egypt Marks 2016 Earth Hour by Turning Off Lights at Tourist Attractions

 The Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx are lit in green 
CAIRO:  Egypt observes the 2016 Earth Hour Saturday by switching off the lights at tourist attractions under the international slogan of “Let’s Change the Climate Change.”

The event will be celebrated Saturday from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time of each country around the world.

For one hour, people unite on turning off non-essential lights in an action to save the planet.

“The main aim behind turning off the lights is not only to reduce power consumption for one hour, but also to unite people around the mission of protecting the planet, where each individual in the world is part of this mission,” read a Friday statement by the Environment Ministry.

The global initiative started on March 31, 2007, where more than 2.2 million individuals and 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour.

Over the past years, Egypt has partaken in the initiative by switching off the lights of a number of the most visited cultural and tourist attractions, including: the Giza Pyramids, Sphinx, the Citadel of Saladin and Cairo Tower.
Source: Cairo Post - By/ The Cairo Post

Friday, March 18, 2016

New Discovery, Luxor: Egypt Finds New Clues That Queen Nefertiti May Lie Buried Behind Tut’s Tomb

CAIRO:  Egypt has unearthed further evidence that a secret chamber, believed by some to be the lost burial site of Queen Nefertiti, may lie behind King Tutankhamun’s tomb, Egypt’s antiquities minister said on Thursday.

There is huge international interest in Nefertiti, who died in the 14th century B.C. and is thought to be Tutankhamun’s stepmother, and confirmation of her final resting place would be the most remarkable Egyptian archaeological find this century.

An analysis of radar scans done on the site last November has revealed the presence of two empty spaces behind two walls in King Tut’s chamber, Damaty told a news conference. “(The scans point to) different things behind the walls, different material that could be metal, could be organic,” he said.

Damaty said in November there was a 90 percent chance that “something” was behind the walls of King Tut’s chamber following an initial radar scan that had been sent to Japan for analysis.

A more advanced scan will be conducted at the end of this month with an international research team to confirm whether the empty spaces are in fact chambers. Only then, Damaty said, can he discuss the possibility of how and when a team could enter the rooms. “We can say more than 90 percent that the chambers are there. But I never start the next step until I’m 100 percent.” 

The find could be a boon for Egypt’s ailing tourism industry, which has suffered endless setbacks since an uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 but remains a vital source of foreign currency.

British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, who is leading the investigation, believes that Tutankhamun’s mausoleum was originally occupied by Nefertiti and that she lies undisturbed behind what he believes is a partition wall.

The discovery of Nefertiti, whose chiselled cheek-bones and regal beauty were immortalised in a 3,300-year old bust now on display in a Berlin museum, would shed fresh light on what remains a mysterious period of Egyptian history. “It can be the discovery of the century. It’s very important for Egyptian history and the history of the world,” said Damaty.
Source: Cairo Post - By/ Reuters