Monday, October 31, 2016

News, Luxor: Annual WTO Meeting in Luxor Raises Tourism Workers’ Hopes for Increased Hotel Occupancies - Investors

Luxor and Aswan’s capacity stands at 21,000 hotel rooms, of which 17,000 rooms are in floating hotels. 

Tharwat Al-Agamy, chairperson of the Chamber of Companies in the South Valley, expects the occupancy rate in Luxor and Aswan hotels to reach 30% in winter, especially after Luxor’s hosting of the annual meeting of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) this week.

Even though occupancies are low in Luxor and do not exceed 5%, there are hopes that the WTO’s annual meeting would be a form of promotion for cultural tourism in the south of the country, helping to take occupancies up to 30%, according to Al-Agamy.

He said that the Ministry of Tourism will launch a large marketing plan for the region over the next few days. The plan will be launched by marketing communications brand JWT.

Al-Agamy criticised this move. “It would be better to assign the promotional plan to companies that are the same nationalities of the markets that are interested in cultural tourism; however, the Tourism Ministry sees this differently,” he said. The hotel capacity in Luxor and Aswan is 21,000 hotel rooms, of which 17,000 rooms are situated on floating hotels.

The Ministry of Tourism plans to create a tourism programme for the south of Egypt starting in December, in order to increase the number of trips to the region by Egyptians. The peak of the tourism flow is expected to occur during the mid-year school holiday, according to an official in the Ministry of Tourism. He added that the programme is currently under study.

He added that there are hopes for the occupancy rate to increase in winter to more than 70%, whether through trips by foreigners or Egyptians. He noted that charter planes fly from Germany, London, and China to Luxor on a weekly basis.

Chairperson of the Floating Hotels Investors Association, Abdel Rahman Al-Anwar, said that floating hotels are the tourism products that have suffered the most over the past five years. “We hope the WTO’s meeting in Luxor is a new start for tourism in the region,” he said.

Al-Anwar noted that the losses investors suffered over the past five years are estimated at more than $3bn due to some hotels’ low activity, which has led to more than 270 floating hotels shutting down.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Short Story: Sunshine for Ramses II in Aswan

Dignitaries, tourists and journalists watched the sun’s rays strike the face of Ramses II at the Abu Simbel Temples at Aswan, reports Nevine El-Aref.
The usually sedate Upper Egyptian town of Abu Simbel was abuzz with Ramses II fever for the second time this year, as visitors waited for the sun’s rays to penetrate through the Abu Simbel Temple’s inner sanctuary on Saturday to illuminate the pharaoh’s face and the statues of the gods Amun-Re and Re-Hur-Akhty, leaving the god of darkness Ptah in the shade because of his connection to the underworld.

This phenomenon takes place twice a year, on 22 February and 22 October, and it coincides with the birthday and coronation of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II who built the Temples at Abu Simbel. Some believe the solar phenomenon was a way for the ancient Egyptians to identify the beginning of the summer and winter seasons and alert farmers of the start of cultivation and the harvest.

This year, the event marks the celebration of the golden jubilee of the safeguarding of the Abu Simbel Temples in the 1960s when they were threatened by the construction of the Aswan High Dam. The celebrations will last until October 2018 in order to mark the day when the Abu Simbel Temples were reconstructed at their new location on a 65-metre artificial hill above the High Dam to protect them from being submerged under the waters of Lake Nasser.

Under the slogan “Egypt is the country of safety and security,” the equinox celebration was organised by the Aswan governorate in collaboration with the Ministries of Antiquities and Tourism and the Egyptian Tourism Authority. A group of 1,100 tourists of different nationalities as well as Egyptians descended on the Abu Simbel Temples, 280km south of Aswan, on Friday night to witness the sun’s rays falling on the face of Ramses II.

The visitors then paid a visit to an exhibition of paintings at the steps of the Abu Simbel Temples entitled “Abu Simbel in the Eyes of Painters,” which displays paintings by Egyptian artists expressing their thoughts on the temples and the safeguarding operations as well as Nubian nature, houses, decorations, dances and traditions.

The paintings are the results of the second round of the Abu Simbel Symposium, which lasted for four days and was organised by the Abu Simbel Temples 50 Campaign.

The exhibition included four paintings by the late Egyptian artist Hussein Bikar, who was responsible, along with his team, for the documentation of the Abu Simbel Temples from 1963 to 1966 by drawing every inch of their structures, decorative elements and hieroglyphic texts.... READ MORE.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Our Treasures Abroad, USA: Zahi Hawass to Try to Put Sanctions on Toledo Museum of Art for selling Egyptian Antiquities from Collection

The former antiquities minister will send letters to UNESCO and other international organisations in an attempt to have sanctions put on the museum. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The chairman of Egypt's National Committee for Antiquities Repatriation (NCAR) assigned former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass to take restricted action against Toledo Museum of Art which put on sale 68 artefacts from its collection. The objects are from Cyprus, Rome and Egypt.

In a telephone interview, Hawass told Ahram Online the he will send letters to UNESCO, the International Committee Of Museums (ICOM) and the US Congress as well as all international institutions to remove Toledo Museum from the ICOM, because it has offended the reputation of all museums by selling the world heritage.

Hawass asserted that he would also send another letter to the Toledo museum threatening to prohibit children from visiting it because it is selling the heritage.

Hawass will also send these letters on Sunday to Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany for discussion before sending them to the concerned international authorities and institutions.

Early this month, Toledo Museum of Art in Ohaio put on sale a collection of 68 artefacts at Christies auction hall.

The antiquities ministry had taken the required legal procedures in collaboration with Egypt’s Embassy in New York to stop any transaction of these objects but the museum has put them on sale for $1.2 million.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

News, Cairo Egypt and UNESCO Discuss Fustat Civilisation Museum

Egypt's minister of antiquities meets with UNESCO representatives and others to discuss the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation, partially completed but largely on hold since the 2011 revolution. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany met on Wednesday with representatives of the UNESCO office in Egypt and a special international agency to discuss preliminary suggestions on making use of the visitors centre of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC) in Fustat, as well as its cultural and commercial sections.

Mahrous Saeed, supervisor general of the NMEC, said that UNESCO's Egypt office asked a special international agency to carry out a feasibility study on getting the best use out of the NMEC visitor centre as well as finding additional finance to restart suspended work on the museum.

The cultural section of NMEC houses a 332-seat cinema, a 486-seat theatre, and lecture and conference halls equipped with state-of-the-art projectors, media, sound and lighting systems. The commercial section has 42 shops, cafeterias and restaurants.

The museum's main building, overlooking Ain Al-Sira Lake in the heart of Egypt’s first Islamic capital, Fustat, is near completion, including galleries, corridors and exhibition sections. Work was all but halted in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution due to budgetary shortfalls.

Selection of the site for the NMEC was made in 2000. In 2002, the pyramid-shaped foundation stone of the building was laid, and in 2004 the first phase of the project was completed.

An extensive pre-building inspection was carried out to determine if any ruins or antiquities lay buried below ground. An up-to-date storage space, similar to that of the Louvre Museum in Paris and the British Museum in London was built on site. This is the first time that such a storage facility has been built in Egypt and includes a high-tech security system that is directly connected to the police commissariat. A laboratory to restore pieces in the museum’s collection is also among the achievements of the first phase.

The second phase started in 2007 but has not yet completed. Tarek Al-Nagaawy, the NMEC project’s engineer, told Al-Ahram Weekly that work at the museum has been slow, but the team has completed the building’s commercial and cultural section. The museum’s glass pyramid-shaped roof will display a multimedia show of the different eras of Egyptian civilisation.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Our Treasures Abroad, USA: Ohio Museum's Sale of Antiquities from Egypt Draws Criticism

AP: Ohio's Toledo Museum of Art is selling 68 antiquities from its collection, a move drawing criticism from a nationally known archaeologist and Egyptian officials.

About half the items are from Egypt, The Blade newspaper reported. Others come from Cyprus, Greece and Italy. They're being sold at a New York auction on Tuesday and an online sale closing the same day.

"It's just, for me, puzzling and distressing to see this shortsighted decision," said Joan Connelly, a renowned art expert and Toledo native. "As an archaeologist I'm just astounded any museum would sell off items with good provenance, which can be held forever." According to the newspaper, the Egyptian government indicated in news coverage in that country that it's seeking to stop the sales.

Brian Kennedy, the museum's director, said its board approved selling the items that didn't meet the quality of the current collection. The museum conducted a two-year review of its collection before the sale was approved.

The process is called deaccession, which the Toledo Museum of Art similarly used in whittling down its modern contemporary collection in 2002, its Old Masters collection in 2006 and its Asian art collection in 2008.

Many of the objects either haven't been put on display in decades or appeared only sporadically. The items at auction include Egyptian pottery and shabtis, or funeral figurines. Also for sale online is a first or second century Roman bronze strigil, which is a curved blade used to scrape sweat and dirt off the skin following a bath or exercise.

Kennedy said the museum acquired most of the artifacts directly from their countries of origin during the 1910s and 1920s. Connelly said international cultural heritage laws have made it impossible for museums to acquire such antiquities these days. The items are unlikely to be replaced once the museum discards them.

Kennedy expects the sale to generate about $500,000, which can be used on other acquisitions. Connelly remembers the antiques from childhood visits to the museum and said she felt absolutely sick when first learning of the auction. She called the sale "a great loss to Toledo."

News, Giza: A Soft Loan Agreement Signed Yesterday with JICA to Speed up GEM Construction Work

A US$450 loan agreement was signed today between the JICA and both the Ministries of Antiquities and International Cooperation to complete the GEM construction work within the scheduled time. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Egypt's Antiquities Ministry signed a soft loan agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on Monday in an attempt to continue the construction work of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM).

The agreement was signed in an attempt for the museum to be opened up on time, after continue delays.

The ceremony was attended by Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany, Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, Japan's ambassador to Egypt Takeniro Kagawa and JJICA Chief Representative to the Egypt office, Teruyki Ito.

Tarek Tawfik, the GEM's supervisor-general, told Ahram Online that the loan is about $450 million that the Egyptian government would return within 25 years at an interest rate of 1.4 per cent after a seven-year grace period.

This is the second loan that the Egyptian government has taken from the JICA to construct the GEM. The first one was given in May 2006 -- a US$300 million soft loan to be repaid over 30 years at an interest rate of 1.5 per cent.

Payments will be made in installments after a 10-year grace period following the GEM’s official opening. Another $27 million has been donated by an Egyptian businessman, while the Ministry of Culture under the former Mubarak regime provided $150 million.

However, problems encountered after the 25 January Revolution led to budgetary problems, slowing the construction.

Regretfully, Tawfik continued, the work stopped in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution but in 2012, work resumed after a joint venture between Egypt’s Orascom Construction Industries and the Belgium BESIX Group was awarded the contract for completion of the GEM’s third phase, which includes construction of the museum’s main building and landscaping. BESIX is the company that built the impressive Borg Khalifa tower in Dubai.

El Enany said that the GEM project was launched in 2002 and the idea was to build a state-of-the-art antiquities museum near the Giza pyramids to solve the problems of the overstuffed Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, and to bring together materials stored at various archaeological sites.

El-Enany asserted that the GEM is meant to provide the best environment for the display of Egypt’s priceless treasures, as well as providing more space, better lighting, and more information on them, all of which would help to do justice to Egypt’s heritage.

The museum complex will centre on what has been called the “Dunnal Eye,” an area containing the main exhibition spaces. From this central hub a network of streets, piazzas and bridges will link the museum’s many sections. …. READ MORE.

Monday, October 24, 2016

News, Giza: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Visits Giza Plateau

(From right to left) Mohi explains to Awad and Grandi
Filipo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, concluded his visit to Egypt by visiting the Giza Plateau. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Filipo Grandi was accompanied by his assistant and director for the Middle East and North Africa Bureau Amin Awad.

Director-general of the Giza Plateau Ashraf Mohi, who escorted Grandi, told Ahram Online that Grandi was fascinated with the greatness of ancient Egyptian civilisation and the efficiency of the ancient engineers and workers who built its monuments.

Mohi added that Grandi said he would post many tweets on the ancient Egyptian civilisation in order to encourage the whole world to visit Egypt and enjoy touring its great historical sites.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

News, Aswan: Rare Solar Event in Egypt's Abu Simbel Temple Attracts More Chinese Tourists

ABU SIMBEL, Egypt, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Many Chinese tourists this year joined the long queues of thousands of people who gathered on Saturday early morning outside Abu Simbel temple in Upper Egypt's Aswan province to watch the sun illuminating the temple's inner sanctuary and shining the face of ancient Egyptian King Ramses II.

They all looked so attentive and excited while waiting for the extraordinary solar event that takes place twice a year, on Oct. 22 and Feb. 22, as an evidence of the advancement of Egypt's Pharaohs in the field of astronomy thousands of years ago.

Ren Wei, a 20-year-old Chinese visitor, was curiously talking with her friend about the magnificence of Pharaonic drawings on one of the walls of the huge temple, stressing the whole atmosphere was "magical and attractive" to her. "I have always been curious about those Egyptian legends, magical stories and ancient sites since I was little. I read many books and watched many movies about Egypt. So, like many Chinese people, I always hoped to come here to see the ancient history of the country," the young woman told Xinhua.

Egypt has been suffering tourism recession over the past few years due to political turmoil and relevant security issues, yet the Chinese visitors expressed their feeling of safety in the country amid adequate security presence and deployment all around. "We really feel safe here, although as a girl I am still a little reluctant to walk alone in the street," Ren remarked, expressing her impression about Egypt as "a country with huge potentials and fruitful tourism resources that just needs more development."

The number of Chinese visitors to Egypt increased from 65,000 to 135,000 in 2015, and the tourism ministry has been targeting to multiply the number in 2016. Egypt's Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed, who attended the Pharaonic solar phenomenon with a number of other officials, noticed more Chinese tourists this year compared to previous ones …… READ MORE.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Our Treasures Abroad, USA: Antiquities Ministry Trying to Stop Sale of Egyptian Artifacts at New York Auction

Up:The banner of the auction  - Down Left: Ancient Egyptian bronze cat -
Down Right:  an Egyptian painted  pottery jar pre-dynastic period,
The antiquities ministry objects to the sale of artifacts owned by the Toledo Museum of Art at Christie's in New York. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Egyptian antiquities ministry is trying to prevent the sale of Egyptian artifacts by Toledo Museum of Art at Christies in New York next week.

To benefit its acquisitions fund, the Ohio-based museum has put up for auction a collection of 64 works.

The sale is to be made in two auctions; the first is from 19 to 26 October and will include a selection of 24 pieces from across ancient Greece, Rome, the Near East, and Egypt with highlights including a Cypriot limestone head of a male votary and an Egyptian bronze cat.

The second auction will be from 21 to 24 October and will be an online auction via Christies, offering an additional 40 pieces.

Upon the detection of the auctions on the internet, the ministry has undertaken all legal, legitimate and diplomatic procedures to stop them taking place and to recover the ancient Egyptian artifacts, an official told Ahram Online.

An Egyptian faience wadjet eye finger ring, New Kingdom
Supervisor-general of the Antiquities Repatriation Department at the ministry, Shaaban Abdel Gawad, told Ahram Online that the ministry has contacted the directors of UNESCO and the International Committee of Museums, as well as Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to cooperate with the Egyptian embassy in the United States to take all the procedures to withdraw the Egyptian artifacts, stop their sale and return them to their country of origin.

The National Committee for Antiquities Repatriation led by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany has met to discuss the incident and methods to stop the sale.

Abdel Gawad described the sale of the Toledo Museum of Art’s property as unacceptable because it runs counter to the original Enlightenment role of museums as cultural and archaeological institutions.

He went on to say that the ministry has recently played a major role in returning stolen and illegally smuggled antiquities. A total of 1,200 objects have been recovered within the last seven months.

Friday, October 21, 2016

New Discovery, Aswan: Two Late Period Tombs Discovered in Aswan

The entrance of one of the tombs courtesy of AFS
Two Late Period tombs have been uncovered near the Aga Khan mausoleum in Aswan. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Two rock-hewn tombs from the Late Period (664 BC to 332 BC) have been revealed near the Aga Khan mausoleum on Aswan's west bank during excavation works carried out by the mission of Aswan Field School.

Nasr Salama, the director-general of monuments in Aswan and Nubia at the antiquities ministry, explains that the architecture of both tombs is very simple and each consists of a rectangular front hall with stairs leading to the burial shaft where remains of a sarcophagus and mummy are located.

remains of a sarcophagus courtesy of AFS
According to Salama, the tombs are in a very bad conservation condition with plain walls without any decorations, paintings or funerary collection.

The owners of the tombs have not yet been identified but more studies and excavation inside the tombs should yield further information, he added.

Adel Tohamy, the head of the Aswan Field School said that the school aims to train junior archaeologists and restorers to use state-of-the-art techniques in excavations, restoration and documentation of monuments, as well as in archaeological surveying.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

News: Cairo's Historic Al-Sakakini Palace Safe and Sound After Blaze

Architecture and decor were not affected by the fire that broke out in the guardroom last night. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Al-Sakakini Palace
Al-Sakakini Palace in the Al-Daher area of central Cairo is safe and sound after a fire caused by a short-circuit erupted Monday night in the guardroom of the palace's basement.

Mostafa Amin, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced after examining the palace that the building is in good condition and that all architecture and décor were spared.

Amin added that the blaze only affected the outer layer of the guardroom’s wooden ceiling; the wooden columns supporting the ceiling are undamaged.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Opening Soon: Beni Sweif Tombs Will Soon Be Open to Visitors

Two tombs and the remains of a Ptolemaic temple will soon be open to visitors near the Upper Egyptian town of Beni Sweif, reports Nevine El-Aref.
To the west of Beni Sweif lies the Deshasha Cemetery with its rock-hewn tombs of Ancient Egyptian Old Kingdom officials cut into a cliff above the desert plain. The site was investigated in 1897 by British Egyptologist Flinders Petrie, who discovered several tombs from the Fifth Dynasty as well as others from the 18th Dynasty. Egyptologist Naguib Qanawati later worked at the site for 15 years early in the 20th century. Among the best-preserved tombs at the site today are those belonging to the bartender Inty and the supervisor of the royal palace garden Shedu.

Omar Zaki, director of Beni Sweif antiquities, told Al-Ahram Weekly that Inty’s Tomb included two main halls, the first having three pillars and painted walls depicting the deceased in different positions with his family and deities as well as in hunting, cultivation and artisanal scenes including woodworking.

The second hall is perpendicular to the first and does not have any paintings or engravings. The burial shaft is eight metres below ground level. “There is a rare relief depicting a group of Egyptian military lancers invading a fortified town in Asia on one of the Inty tomb’s walls,” Zaki said, adding that according to the hieroglyphic text on the wall the town was in southern Palestine. Further studies might reveal its name, he said.

The tomb of Shedu is similar to that of Inty but contains an important relief of two bulls fighting one another. The Ministry of Antiquities in collaboration with the Beni Sweif governorate is now developing the Deshasha site in order to make it more tourist friendly and to open it to visitors.

“Both tombs are in very good condition and do not need any restoration work,” Zaki said, adding that the road leading to the necropolis was well paved and accessible to visitors. He said that in order to make the site more tourist friendly it only needed signboards, a lighting system, and a ticket kiosk. The funerary collections from the tombs are now on display at the Petrie Museum in London. They include two well-preserved linen garments as well as pottery.

In the tomb chapel of the ancient mayor of Deshasha, Nenkheftkha, neighbouring the Inty tomb, an Old Kingdom statue of the tomb owner was also found and is now in the British Museum in London. The statue, carved in limestone, shows Nenkheftkha standing with his left leg forward and his arms at his sides. He is wearing a short kilt and a black wig on his head.

A statue of Nekheftkha in a similar position with his wife Nefer-shemes standing with her feet together and wearing a close-fitting robe, necklace and a long wig was also found in his tomb, and this is now exhibited in the museum of the Oriental Institute of Chicago in the US. Each statue was carved separately and altered prior to burial to fit into a shared base.

The Gabal Al-Nour site in south Beni Sweif is also under development. Egyptologist Rabea Eissa told the Weekly that the area included the remains of a limestone temple from the reign of Ptolemy II and a residential area.

The remains of the temple were uncovered in 2014 and highlight the history of Ptolemy II’s rule, who reigned over the country for 36 years. The external walls of the temple’s eastern side are decorated with scenes depicting Ptolemy II in various positions before the Nile god Hapy, while other walls bear hieroglyphic texts that shows Gabal Al-Nour’s ancient name of “Isis, lady of the Mirouwat.”

“This means that the temple was built on the ruins of an even older ancient Egyptian temple,” Eissa said. He added that in 2016, the hall of the temple had been uncovered along with a large tomb. To the west, the foundation of the temple kiosk had been found decorated with ancient Greek texts.

These show that the architecture of the temple was influenced by that of the Late Period and the later Roman Empire, with Roman rulers making their own additions to the temple.

“This shows that the temple was used in the Roman period,” Eissa said, adding that a residential settlement from the Byzantine era had also been found beside the temple, showing its continued use in the Byzantine period.

Mudbrick foundations have been unearthed, as well as the remains of walls and halls. A collection of rounded ovens has been found filled with ashes. “These items have been restored, and the mission team is documenting them,” Eissa said, adding that further excavations would be conducted in December to reveal more of the temple’s secrets.

Early this week Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Enani visited both sites and gave the go-ahead for their development. He also visited the Ramses II temple in Ehnasia, where he inspected a project for decreasing the subterranean level.

Ehnasia houses a number of tombs and temples from the Middle Kingdom to the Roman period. Among the most important is a temple dedicated to the local ram-headed god of fertility Herishef, whose name means “he who is upon his lake.”

The Ramses II temple was founded in the Middle Kingdom but was enlarged during the 19th Dynasty with major additions being made during the reign of Ramses II. It consists of a forecourt with side chambers and a colossal statue of Ramses II in front of the columns.

Beyond it, there is an entrance hall with a double row of eight palm-columns. Behind it, a hall with six pillars leads to the inner chambers where the temple is found. There are many column bases and fine reliefs scattered across the site

Monday, October 17, 2016

News, Cairo: Al-Tunbagha Al-Mardani Mosque to Be Restored Soon

A French expert has examined the architectural condition of Al-Tunbagha Al-Mardani Mosque in Bab Zuweila area in a step towards drawing up a plan for its restoration. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Polio Inspect the Iwan al Qibla
French expert Christophe Polio, from the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme (AKHCP), has embarked on an inspection tour around Al-Tunbagha Al-Mardani Mosque in Bab Zuweila area to check its architectural conditions as a step towards drawing up a plan for its restoration.

Mohamed Abdel Aziz, head of the Historic Cairo unit at the Ministry of Antiquties, told Ahram Online that the mosque edifice has several problems due to erosion. There is also a high level of humidity and accumulated salts on the mosque's walls due to the leakage of water from nearby streets.

Its existence in a busy residential area, Abdel Aziz said, has added to its deterioration due to the negative behaviour of area inhabitants who throw garbage beside it.The mosque was also subject to bad restoration practices in 1896 by the Arab Heritage Conservation Committee, responsible for Islamic monuments at the time.

Al-Mardani Mosque
After his inspection tour, Polio told Ahram Online that the prayer hall (Iwan Al-Qibla) is the most deteriorated part of the mosque and needs to be completely rehabilitated. Cracks have spread over the walls and its woodwork and marble are in a very bad condition.

Polio is to write a detailed report on the mosque's condition and will suggest a plan for its restoration. Both are to be submitted to Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany for discussion in a special meeting with Polio next week.

The mosque of Al-Tanbugha Al-Mardani was built in the style of congregational mosques. it has a court surrounded by four aisles. The deepest and largest of the aisles is the one in the direction of prayer.

In the centre of the nave there is an octagonal fountain covered with marble. The facade of the northern aisle is covered with beautiful marble inscribed with the date of construction. The rest of the prayer direction wall is covered with a fine marble dado, or panel, inlaid with mother of pearl. The Mosque has three entrances and a dome supported by eight granite pillars.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

News, Giza: Scan Pyramids Project Requests Year Extension

The Scan Pyramids project is using new technology to explore the internal architecture of Egypt's pyramids. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
The archaeological committee formed by Egypt's antiquities minister to follow up on the work of the Scan Pyramids project met on Thursday to hear a report on the results of the project's work over the past year inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu and the Dahshur Bent Pyramid and to request an extension.

The Scan Pyramids project started last year; it uses new technologies in an attempt to explore the internal architecture of Egypt's pyramids.

The committee following up on the project is led by former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass and includes Mark Lehner, the director of Ancient Egypt Research Associates; Merslav Barta, director of the Czech archaeological mission in Saqqara; and Riner Schtudlmen, former director of the German archaeological institute.

At the meeting Hani Helal, the Scan Pyramids coordinator, said that more research is required for the Bent Pyramid but inside the Great Pyramid the mission located two anomalies: one at the upper part of the entrance gate and the second at its north-eastern side. Helal said that during the coming period more research and studies are to be carried out in order to identify the nature and size of these anomalies.

Hawass said that the members of the committee approved in principal the results of the research carried out by the project. He said that the committee is to prepare a detailed final scientific and archaeological report on the project's progress from its inception to the current time.

The report will be sent to Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany for discussion. Hawass also said that members of the committee approved in principal Scan Pyramids' request to extend the project for another year, on condition that it is approved by the ministry's permanent committee and follows all legal procedures.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

News, Giza: Japanese Parliament Delegation Visits The GEM

A delegation from the Japanese Parliament led by Kazunori Tanaka toured the Grand Egyptian Museum during a visit to celebrate Egypt's 150 years of parliamentary life. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

A delegation from the Japanese Parliament led by member Kazunori Tanaka visited today the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) and the Giza Plateau.

The delegation is on a trip to Egypt to participate in the country's celebration of 150 years of parliamentary life. Tanaka and the delegation were accompanied by Japanese Ambassador to Egypt Takehiro Kagawa.

Guided by General Supervisor of the GEM Tarek Tawfik, the delegation toured the museum's wooden artifact laboratory, as well as a number of the Tutankhamun collection exhibits transported to the GEM for restoration. The delegation described the Egyptian restoration technicians as "skillful."

Tawfik also led the delegation on a tour of the GEM's construction work and explained the museum's different construction phases, which began in 2002. Tanaka and the delegation later toured the Giza plateau, where they visited Khufu's Pyramid and the Sphinx.