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gearing up to open the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization later this
year and the Grand Egyptian Museum in early 2021.
To promote these important
events, Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly made a historic visit to the
archaeological site of Saqqara, located south of Cairo.
Oct. 19 the excavation works carried out by the Egyptian
archaeological mission working in the Saqqara antiquities area. He visited
the archaeological site and participated in the inspection works along
with the members of the archaeological mission — a first in the history of the
The visit boosted the
morale of workers and led them to expedite the discovery of antiquities,
artifacts and mummies dating back more than 2,500 years.
Madbouly went down one
of the three new burial wells that were found to inspect for himself the
coffins that were discovered inside.
Zahi Hawass, an
Egyptian archaeologist and former minister of antiquities, told Al-Monitor that
Egypt is conveying a message to the world that it is interested in antiquities,
culture and civilization.
Fattah al-Sisi is to receive the royal mummies that will be transferred in
a majestic procession to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization
in the ancient city of Fustat, now part of Cairo. The museum is set to display
antiquities discovered in the Saqqara necropolis, home to thousands of mummies,
statues and historical artifacts.
Starting next month,
Egypt is set to inaugurate several archaeological museums. Chief among
these is the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in the capital Cairo,
the Sharm Museum in the southern Sinai Peninsula,
the Royal Chariots Museum in Bulaq, the Kafr El-Sheikh Museum in the Nile Delta
region and the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Hawass said that
for the first time in the history of Egyptian antiquities, a prime minister has
visited an archaeological site and went down an 11-meter (36-feet) deep well to
see such a discovery for himself.
This came after international agencies had
reported the discovery in an area containing thousands of coffins with
mummies and statues.
In early October,
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Anani announced at a widely publicized event
in the presence of local and international reporters that a huge archaeological
discovery was made in the Saqqara area near the pyramids, containing wells with
coffins of mummies, artifacts and statues dating back more than 2,500
Hawass stressed that
Egypt is announcing to the world its interest in antiquities and culture.
The cost of the Grand Egyptian Museum has thus far exceeded $1 billion, he
stated, adding that Egypt has spent millions of pounds to develop the Pyramids
area, the Sohag National Museum, the Baron Palace and the Sharm Museum.
Yaman al-Hamaki, a
professor of economics at the Faculty of Commerce at Ain Shams University, told
Al-Monitor that Egypt is making great efforts to overcome the repercussions of
the coronavirus pandemic on the tourism sector, which was generating
about $1 billion per month. Cairo, she said, has resumed in
July the flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam on
the northern coast, thus giving a boost to the tourism sector. These
destinations are open areas where the necessary measures to stem the spread of
the coronavirus are implemented.
Hamaki noted that
Egypt is seeking to promote archaeological tourism through the large
inauguration events that are scheduled in the coming period.
continued, is encouraging tourists to spend more time in Cairo by
opening coffee shops, restaurants and hotels in the Pyramids area.
according to Hamaki, will play a major role in increasing the revenues
generated by the tourism sector.
She said that Madbouly’s
historic visit to the Saqqara necropolis was organized to promote to the world
Egyptian archaeological tourism, as the country seeks to generate tourism
revenues to the national economy as soon as the pandemic ends and the global
Amr Sidky, head of the
parliamentary Tourism and Antiquities Commission, said that Egypt is
putting itself on the global map of culture and civilization with the upcoming
openings of the Grand Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian
Civilization and the development of the Baron Palace.
Add to this, she
continued, other important archaeological discoveries, all of which are set to
attract tourists to Cairo as soon as the coronavirus pandemic is over.
Sidky told Al-Monitor
that Egypt is currently showing great interest in workers in the tourism and
antiquities sector, which explains Madbouly’s visit to the Saqqara
archaeological site, which encouraged Egyptian archaeologists to speed up
new discoveries and promote them to various international media outlets so
as to convey to the world a positive image of the country.
This will play an
important role in reviving the tourism sector in the future and will be of
great benefit to the Egyptian economy.
He stressed that while
Egypt is currently boosting domestic tourism due to the decline of foreign
tourism, the ongoing pandemic and the lockdowns in a number of countries,
it is also working on improving infrastructure through the inauguration of
these large museums.
company will provide buses and golf carts for transport inside the plateau,
will train horse and camel drivers and give them a uniform, and will create
WiFi services, signs, maps and other facilities. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Supreme Council of Antiquities has signed a contract with Orascom Investment to
allow the latter to provide and operate the facilities at the Giza Plateau,
under the supervision of the council.
signing of contract came after almost a year of negotiations, and after the
approval of the cabinet, and aims to upgrade the services available to visitors
to the pyramids.
Waziri, the general-secretary of the council, told Ahram Online that the
facilities and services include a promotional campaign for the site, and
operating the parking area located outside the archaeological site just in
front of entrance on the Fayoum Road.
will be prohibited from entering the site, and the company will instead provide
20 golf carts and 30 buses for visitors, operated with renewable energy, to
circulate inside the site. It will also run the services at the site visitor
centre, which consists of a collection of shops, cafeterias and a cinema.
“The films on display at this
cinema will be revised and have the approval of the Supreme Council of
Antiquities before they are shown,” Waziri said. He
added that Orascom will also install 20 mobile toilets and a medical centre for
first aid facilities in different areas in the plateau which would be selected
and approved by the council.
will also provide new services such as mobile application for the site, free
Wi-Fi services, signage, visitor maps, and kiosks for photographs and paintings
of visitors. A
cleaning company will be provided, as well as a security one to safeguard the
“The Tourism and Antiquities
Police and the Supreme Council of Antiquities guards are the only ones to
secure the general site, the visitors and the archaeological site,” said
Waziri, adding that the security provided by the company is only to safeguard
the places where services are provided.
explained that according to the signed contract the company will train
craftsmen, camel and horse owners, peddlers, and photographers in order to
upgrade their skills to deal with tourists and visitors, and will buy them new
horse carts to replace the out-dated ones. A
special place will be allocated for them, as well as a uniform.
said that it is the first time such services to visitors are provided through a
specialised Egyptian company in order to facilitate a visiting route inside the
plateau within a complete system that respects the archaeological environment
and antiquities laws and regulations.
underlined that the contract allots half the revenue from the services provided
to the council. “If the company does not succeed
to make any benefits, it has to pay an agreed minimum amount to the Supreme
Council of Antiquities.
“The Supreme Council of
Antiquities has the authority to select and hire any authority to review the
financial account of the company and supervise the execution of all articles in
the contracts, in order to guarantee the Supreme Council of Antiquities’
rights,” Waziri said, adding that the council also has the right to end the
contract at any time should the company breach any of its obligations
stipulated in the contract.
that the council is the only body that received the revenues from the tickets
and bus services inside the plateau which will be part of the ticket price. The
Supreme Council of Antiquities is the authority with full responsibility for
the archaeological site.
Smith and his family with Hawass infront ofThe Sphinx.
Photo courtesy of Hawass
actor and his family admired the sun rise on Giza Plateau with Egypt's Zahi
Hawass. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
American actor Will Smith and his family arrived in Cairo early this morning
and paid a visit to the Giza Plateau where they met renowned archaeologist Zahi
Hawass, who guided the family on a tour around the Sphinx and inside the Great
Pyramid of Khufu.
discussed with the Smiths the secrets of the Khufu Pyramid and the latest
discoveries being uncovered at the plateau.
former minister of antiquities told Ahram Online that Smith and his family
enjoyed admiring the sun rise on the plateau, learning about ancient Egyptian
civilisation and taking photographs before the Sphinx.
and Hawass have been good friends since 2006 when they were selected among Time
magazine's top 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example is
transforming the world.
told Ahram Online that Smith is from Philadelphia, the city where Hawass
received his PhD. Hawass and Smith enjoyed breakfast together in a luxury hotel
overlooking the plateau and planned to meet again for dinner. Smith
received an Oscar nomination for portraying Chris Gardner in The Pursuit of
Happyness in 2007.