Monthly Archives: August 2010

Investigations into the Theft of a $50 Million Van Gogh Painting from a Cairo Museum.

(Daily News Egypt Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) CAIRO: Investigations into the theft of a $50 million Van Gogh painting from a Cairo museum on last week, continue to reveal more security flops.

Only one single security guard manned Mahmoud Khalil Museum which housed Vn Gogh’s “Poppy Flowers” and most of the museum’s cameras have been out of order since 2006, revealed a report by the state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA).

The prosecution’s investigation into the found that the museum had reduced the number of security guards from 30 to 9 and “most days the number was reduced so that there was only one guard in the museum,” MENA reported.

Only seven of 43 cameras were functioning and none of the alarms went off during the theft.

Deputy Culture Minister Mohsen Shaalan and four employees at the Mahmoud Khalil Museum remain detained under investigation on charges of “security negligence”.

Shaalan was responsible for the development and security of the museum, according to a 2006 decision issued by the ministry of culture, giving him all administrative and financial authorities over Mahmoud Khalil museum.

Shaalan denied accusations of negligence and pointed the finger at the Ministry of Culture, which he said was using him as a “scapegoat”.

Shaalan said in a Sunday interview with El Shororuk newspaper mediated by his lawyer Samir Sabri that the authorization that was given to me, is given to all ministry officials to facilitate financial issues and it’s limited to LE 300,000 and is usually used in very limited cases.” “LE 300,000 isn’t enough to develop and change a whole network of surveillance cameras and alarms, that requires LE 16 million,” he added.

In a telephone interception to Mehwar TV’s daily talk show “90 Minutes” Monday night, Sabri said that Culture Minister Farouk Hosni should be taken to court as the top official responsible for the security negligence that led to the Van Gogh theft.

Mohsen Shaalan had sent several correspondences and notices to the Ministry of Culture since 2007, notifying them of the security problems in the [Mahmoud Khalil] museum, and informing them that the cameras and alarms don’t work, but the ministry ignored his requests,” he explained.

He [Shaalan] even told the Minister of Culture personally about the security problems in the museum in a meeting between the two. But the minister’s response was that it was more important to replace the old drapes for the sake of foreign visitors,” Sabri added.

Hosni denied Shaalan’s accusations in an interview with UAE newspaper The National, on Wednesday.

Nobody should imagine that I knew that the security cameras were not functioning, because had I known that I would have ordered the museum closed immediately,” he said.

Hosni accused the media of falsely attacking him and taking advantage of the incident to tarnish his good name and achievements as minister.

It’s unbelievable the frenzy in the media dreadful hunger for accusations. They are leaving or defending the defendant [Mr Shaalan] and running after the [innocent]. Why? Because I am a minister,” he said.

At the heels of the Van Gogh theft, Hosni formed a committee on Saturday to take an inventory of all the artwork preserved in museums throughout Egypt in a bid to save face and preserve what’s left of Egyptian treasures.

Ahmed Salah, press officer at the culture ministry, told told Daily News Egypt that the ministry of culture established a committee of prominent artists and experts on Saturday to assess the condition of all artwork in all Egyptian museums to determine whether or not they need restoration.

On Thursday, Hosni ordered shut the Mahmoud Saied, the Islamic Ceramics and the Ahmed Shawqi Museums based on the findings of a security committee established by the ministry to evaluate security in Egyptian museums, following the recent “scandal”.

The scandal is not in the loss of the painting, but in how it was stolen,” Hosni said.

The painting was cut out from it’s a frame with a box cutter in broad day light. Some reports claim that the thieves pushed a couch under the painting and stood on it while they cut it out without anybody noticing.

Museum employees discovered the theft Saturday afternoon on Aug. 21 before closing time.

The investigation showed that the museum didn’t keep any records of its visitors and the metal detector wasn’t working.

The events surrounding the theft caused a huge scandal for the culture ministry and shed light on the poor state of museums in Egypt.

Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris offered a LE 1 million ($175,300) reward for information leading to the recovery of the stolen painting, state television reported on Wednesday.

Sawiris, chairman of mobile operator Orascom Telecom, is the first businessman to publicly get involved in the search for the painting.

Mahmoud Khalil museum is home to valuable artwork, assembled by Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil, a politician who died in 1953. The collection includes paintings by Gauguin, Monet, Manet and Renoir, as well as the Dutch post-Impressionist master Van Gogh.


Posted by : Yasmine Aladdin

Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

© Copyright (c)2009 Daily NewsEgypt Provided by Syndigate.info an Albawaba.com company

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Security Problems Seen in Egypt’s Museums !

A police officer stands guard by a Paraonic statue at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

A police officer stands guard by a Paraonic statue at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

CAIRO — The Egyptian Museum houses some of the world’s prized antiquities, including the gold mask of King Tut that draws millions of tourists a year. But it also has an outdated video surveillance system that doesn’t work around the clock and guards who snooze, reading the newspaper or are seemingly too bored to pay attention.

Security for Egypt’s treasures is under scrutiny after the Aug. 21 theft of a van Gogh painting from another museum in Cairo revealed some alarming gaps, and the minister of culture told a newspaper he lies awake at night, fearing for the safety of the country’s relics.

Shortly after van Gogh’s 1887 “Poppy Flowers” was stolen from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum, officials discovered that no alarms were working, and only seven of 43 cameras were operating.

That made it very easy for whoever took the painting, said Ton Cremers, director of the Netherlands-based Museum Security Network, which keeps tabs on the protection of art around the world.

The value of the van Gogh is $40 (million) to $50 million,” Cremers told The Associated Press. “A complete security system of that museum would be $50,000, and to keep it running would cost $3,000 a year. … Need I say more?”

With the alarms out and few cameras working, the thieves took advantage of the afternoon period when security guards were busy praying during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The thieves used a box cutter to slice the 12-inch-by-12-inch (30-centimer-by-30-centimeter) canvas from its frame and left the museum undetected.

Now, officials in Egypt’s Culture Ministry are under fire.

On Monday, the head of the ministry’s fine arts department, Mohsen Shalaan, was arrested for negligence. Shalaan, who was in charge of the Mahmoud Khalil Museum, and a number of other museum heads had asked Culture Minister Farouk Hosni for nearly $7 million to upgrade their security systems, but only $88,000 was approved.

Two days later, Hosni ordered three museums closed because security cameras weren’t functioning.

The independent newspaper Al-Shorouk reported the Tourism and Antiquities Police had warned Hosni of lax security at the Mahmoud Khalil Museum, and that 16 of the country’s nearly 50 museums have no alarms, cameras or appropriate fire safety systems.

Each year, nearly 9 million people visit Cairo’s museums and the haunting tombs of the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, and these tourists are a vital source of revenue.

Still, on a hot Tuesday afternoon at the height of the tourist season, inattentive security was easy to spot at the Egyptian Museum.

A tourism police officer guarding the entrance leaned back in his chair intently reading the Quran, the Muslim holy book, as his subordinates tried to handle the hundreds of visitors filing in.

Inside, a guard talked on his cell phone as he leaned against a stone statue of an ancient Egyptian. He ignored a Russian couple touching the carvings on a huge black sarcophagus in the middle of the room.

Control room workers said that if a security guard “senses” that an incident is about to happen, he presses the record button on a VCR.

An Egyptian Museum guard who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his job said much of the security relied not on computers but on humans, who had to constantly pay attention.

“A controller may be very alert for two or three hours of the shift, but then he’ll slip,” he said.

Asked what would happen if a worker missed something or believed that a room wasn’t worth monitoring, the security guard shrugged and said: “It doesn’t get recorded.”

He also said the equipment wasn’t able to record 24 hours a day.

In Egypt, we say, ‘It’s OK; God will take care of it.’ Then we do nothing,” he added.

Since the van Gogh theft, the Culture Ministry announced the creation of a central control room in Cairo to collect information from all museum security rooms.

Egyptian antiquities chief Zahi Hawasssought to calm fears about more thefts from sites under his control, telling the AP: “I am assuring everyone that all of my 23 museums are well-protected and have good security systems.”

But on Thursday, he shut down the Nubian Museum in Aswan, 425 miles (685 kilometers) south of Cairo, because its security system wasn’t working, the Shorouk newspaper reported.

Hosni even complained that he was overwhelmed by “incompetent employees.”

“I’m tired, I can’t sleep,” the culture minister told the Al-Masry Al-Youm daily. “I wake up in the middle of the night fearing for the artifacts and the museums.”

Derek Fincham, academic director of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art, said the best protection is “an active, engaged security guard who isn’t dozing off.”

“It’s not an exciting job, but you need to take it seriously,” Fincham said.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted by : Yasmine Aladdin

Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

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Archaeologists uncover 3,500-year-old Egypt city.New settlement discovered in Kharga Oasis

View of an excavated bakery at the settlement (Photo: courtesy of expedition)

View of an excavated bakery at the settlement (Photo: courtesy of expedition)

The American-Egyptian mission from Yale University has stumbled upon what appears to be the remains of a substantial settlement. The city is a thousand years earlier than the major surviving ancient remains at the Umm Mawagir area in Kharga Oasis.

Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosny, announced that the settlement is dated to the Second Intermediate Period (ca.1650-1550 BC) and was discovered during excavation work as part of the Theban Desert Road Survey. This project serves to investigate and map the ancient desert routes in the Western desert.

Dr. John Coleman Darnell, head of the Yale mission, said that during excavations remains of large administrative mudbrick structures were found. These buildings consisted of rooms and halls similar to administrative buildings previously found in several sites in the Nile Valley. These sites may have been used as a lookout post as part of the administrative center of the settlement. Part of an ancient bakery was also found with two ovens and a potter’s wheel, used to make the ceramic bread molds in which the bread was baked. The amount of remains from the debris dumps outside the bakery suggest that the settlement produced a food surplus and may have even been feeding an army.

Excavating bakery complex at Umm Mawagir (Photo: Courtesy of the expedition)

Excavating bakery complex at Umm Mawagir (Photo: Courtesy of the expedition)

Dr. Deborah Darnell, co-director of the mission, said that early studies on the site revealed that the settlement began during the Middle Kingdom (2134-1569 BC) and lasted to the beginning of the New Kingdom (1569-1081 BC). However the site was at its peak from the late Middle Kingdom (1786-1665 BC) to the Second Intermediate Period (1600-1569 BC)

© Copyright (c) Zahi Hawass’s blog

Posted by : Yasmine Aladdin

Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Categories: Ancient Egypt, Cultural Tourism, Discoveries in Egypt, Latest Discoveries in Egypt, Latest new in Egypt, Recent descoveries in Egypt, Sightseeing Tours | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt has been voted the ‘perfect holiday destination’ by the Pacific Area Travel Writer’s Association (PATWA)

Egypt has been voted the ‘perfect holiday destination’ by the Pacific Area Travel Writer’s Association (PATWA) and tourism publication Safari India at a tourism conclave here.

Director of Egyptian Tourism Office in India, Adel El Masary, was Wednesday evening honoured with a prize for the best tourism director from overseas while Egypt was described by Safari India as the ‘right mix of entertainment, leisure, business’ preferred by the globe-trotting businessperson and the corporate Indian traveller.

‘Such recognitions always encourage us to offer more and more to the Indian market. For the north African nation India is prime tourism market and we are always looking for opportunities to attract Indian tourists to Egypt,’ he said.

The focus in 2010, he said, was to promote ‘the famous Luxor and Nile cruises‘.

‘Luxor city is known as an open air museum with rich heritage,’ he said. Located in upper or southern Egypt, Luxor comprises the main city on the east bank of the Nile, the historic town ofKarnak on the north of the River and the Waset on its west bank.

The city, with a population of 487,896, houses almost all modern amenities like nightclubs, spas and restaurants as well as traditional souks and ancient monuments.

It is known for the ‘West Bank Necropolis that includes Valley of the Kings and the Queens‘.

Citing figures to establish the importance of India as an inbound market for Egypt, Masary said: ‘Egypt had hosted close to 99,000 Indian tourists in 2009, an increase of 11 percent compared to 2008.’

‘In the first quarter of 2010, Egypt has drawn 34,447 Indian tourists, registering a growth of 37.8 percent over the corresponding period last year,’ he added.

‘People in India still view Egypt as a pyramid culture product. My strategy is to promote Egypt in India as a ‘product of yesterday, today and tomorrow’,’ Masary said.

‘I am trying to develop it as a wellness and water sport destination for the new segment of Indian travellers. Nearly 40 percent outbound tourists from India head to Egypt for both long and short holidays,’ he added.

The Egyptian tourism department plans to sell the country as a honeymoon destination in India.

Outlining his promotion blueprint, Masary said: ‘He was exploring the possibility of joint tourism campaigns with tour operators in India, familiarisation trips and an advertisement blitz in the media.’

The tourism office has moved airline companies to sponsor lucky tickets for a travel promotion campaign in India.

Egypt shares similarities with India. I want to build on it to win over the Indian outbound market that has of late become very important,’ he said.

Reference: sify.com

Posted by : Yasmine Aladdin

Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Categories: Latest new in Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Hibis Temple in Kharga Oasis – Egypt.

The Hibis Temple undergoing restoration (Photo: Kenneth Garrett)

The Hibis Temple undergoing restoration (Photo: Kenneth Garrett)

The Hibis temple is oriented along an east-west axis and consists of a pylon, open court, pillared hall and sanctuary. The temple would have originally also had a lake and boat quay along its eastern side. The lake would have allowed access to the temple for festival purposes. Today the first thing a visitor encounters at the temple is the outer or Roman gate that contains several Greek inscriptions. The most important one is the decree that was by the Roman governor, Tiberius Julius Alexander during the second year of the reign of Emperor Galba (69AD). The decree outlines the raising of taxes, the state of Kharga’s economy and the oasis’ system of administration. It was this gate that was moved from the old location to the new location.

After the outer gate is a sphinx avenue, then a Ptolemaic gate, then a Persian gate that dates to the reign of King Darius I. The Persian gate is followed by the open court, which dates to the Thirtieth Dynasty during the reigns of Nectanbeo I and II. The court bears inscriptions and offerings scenes dedicated to different gods and goddesses. After the open court is the pillared hall that contains 12 pillars from the reign of Achoris (Twenty-ninth Dynasty). At the back of the pillared hall is a smaller rectangular room that leads to the sanctuary. Inside the sanctuary is a small open court supported by four pillars. Surrounding this court is a series of small rooms, which would have been used for storage of the implements used in the daily temple ritual. The sanctuary of the temple is the oldest and most important part and is decorated with 569 different gods and goddesses. On the northern wall of the sanctuary are the gods and goddesses of Lower Egypt, while the deities of Upper Egypt are depicted on the southern wall. The western wall has a group of deities from Thebes and Heliopolis, including Osiris, Isis and Horus, as well as the Theban triad of Amun, Mut and Khonsu to which the temple is dedicated. A small chapel on the roof is also dedicated to the god Osiris and to the southwest side of the temple is a mammisi, or birth house.

Aerial view of Kharga Oasis (Photo: Kenneth Garrett)

Aerial view of Kharga Oasis (Photo: Kenneth Garrett)

Beginning in 1909, the Metropolitan Museum of Art was responsible for excavations at the Hibis temple. Their work resulted in three important volumes, which included translations of the inscriptions on the walls. After the Metropolitan Museum left the site, an Egyptian team continued to uncover and record buried parts of the temple until 1986.

The reason that I went for the first time to visit Kharga oasis was because the SCA decided that the Hibis temple had to be moved from its current location, because the soil composition of the land was very weak and the temple was in danger of collapse. Because of this, the SCA began to organize a salvage program that would move the temple to another location 2km away from the original site.

From the first time I visited the site I could see that if the temple was moved it would be destroyed. The reliefs and the stone blocks were badly restored in the past and were very fragile. I sat down with the architects and engineers who wanted to move the temple and they explained to me two main reasons why they wanted to move the temple:

In order to keep the temple in its current location, the area would need extensive work to be consolidated.They were afraid that the surrounding agricultural area would continue to encroach on the temple and it would be ruined.

However, several other engineers believed that the temple could be restored in its current location and that to prevent far more extensive damage it should definitely not be moved. Unfortunately, the first gate of the temple had already been cut and moved! We immediately wrote to the Minister of Culture and stopped the work under his decree. I still think that this is one of the best decisions I ever made as Secretary General. Today the temple is beautifully restored and remains in its original location. To avoid problems from the surrounding agricultural fields, the SCA bought all the land around the temple to provide a safe zoning area. We are in the process of lighting the temple now and when it is finished I think Hibis Temple will be one of the greatest restoration projects completed by the SCA.

Reference : drhawass.com

Posted by : Yasmine Aladdin

Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Categories: Ancient Egypt, Cultural Tourism, Latest new in Egypt | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Coins Through the Ages Exhibition open at the Egyptian Museum !

The poster from Coins Through the Ages outside of Hall 44 in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo (Photo: Meghan E. Strong)

The poster from Coins Through the Ages outside of Hall 44 in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo (Photo: Meghan E. Strong)

The Egyptian Museum, Cairo opened a new temporary exhibit entitled: Coins Through the Ages on August 10. Over the past eight years the Egyptian Museum has hosted a series of temporary exhibitions, the most recent of which focused on five artifacts which were repatriated to Egypt. The temporary exhibition space (Hall 44) has also hosted a series of exhibits on excavations under the direction of foreign teams. This includes teams from America, France, Poland and the Netherlands. This exhibition was curated by Sayed Hassan, who did an excellent job and will be working with the new Egyptian Museum in Rome. I’m including here the text from the brochure that will be handed out during the exhibit:

Before the invention of money, people bartered their surplus crops and cattle amongst themselves to obtain necessary commodities. The invention of coins provided the means to transition from a barter system to a monetary system. Metal coins are divisible, variable in form, convenient for trade with foreign markets and can be saved for use at a later time.

A cache of coins on display at the Egyptian Museum (Photo: Meghan E. Strong)

A cache of coins on display at the Egyptian Museum (Photo: Meghan E. Strong)

The first people to invent a coinage-system were the Lydians of Asia Minor in the second half of the 7th century B.C. The rich Greek merchants int he city-states on the western coast of Asia Minor adopted the Lydians’ weight-system and began to issue oval ingots, stamped with seals to guarantee weight and purity. After ca. 600 B.C. coinage rapidly spread to Greece, and there, owing to improved techniques, coins developed into a splendid quality. Croesus, king of Lydia (560-546 B.C.) was the first to strike coins in gold and silver.

During the pharaonic period, gold, silver and bronze rings and large bronze ingots were sometimes used in the barter system. When the Persians first came to Egypt (525 B.C.) they brought their coins with them. The Egyptians treated these coins as ingots, valuing them based on their weight in metal and sometimes melting the coins for other uses. In the 30th dynasty, the Egyptians revolted against the Persians, and Nectanebo and his son Tachos, struck Athenian coins to pay the Greek soldiers who helped fight the Persians. The coins were also used in transactions with Asian merchants. These famous coins were called the nwb-nfr coins based on the two hieroglyphic signs on the obverse (or front surface), meaning “fine gold.” These rare coins, which bore a picture of a horse on the revers (or back surface), are now representative of the transition from barter to coinage in Egypt. The nwb-nfr coins were still likely to have been used in the barter system as well as in a monetary fashion with foreigners since the ancient Egyptians had not yet adopted a monetary trade system.

When Alexander the Greatcame to Egypt in 332 B.C. he considered himself a successor to the pharaohs. During his reign, the typical coin bore depictions of deities or religious symbols. Alexander’s image appeared on coins after his death in 323 B.C. In this image he was portrayed as a deity or a hero on the obverse, while Zeus was represented on the reverse.

In approximately 306 B.C. the Governor became an independent ruler and shortly thereafter the first coinage of an independent Egyptwas created. When Ptolemy I proclaimed himself to be the king of Egypt, he struck his own coins of gold, silver and bronze. On the obverse was the head of Ptolemy I and on the reverse was an eagle on a thunderbolt, both symbols of Zeus. Around the edge of this scene appeared the king’s name in Greek characters.

During the Roman era, beginning with the reign of Augustus, Egypt had special coins, known as Alexandrian coins. These coins were named after the city in which they were minted and they were restricted to use within Egyptonly. These Roman coins also had Greek inscriptions. The obverse showed a depiction of the emperor’s head; the revers, beginning in the 3rd century A.D., bore representations of various Egyptian, Greek and Roman deities. After the Arab conquest of Egypt in 641 A.D., the name of the minting location was changed into Arabic script on the coins.

Reference: drhawass.com

Posted by :Yasmine Aladdin

Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Categories: Ancient Egypt, Cultural Tourism, Events In Egypt, Latest new in Egypt, Sightseeing Tours | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt’s Islamic art museum officially reopens ,after restoration, by President Hosni Mubarak.

A worker puts the final touches at the Museum of Islamic Art in downtown Cairo

A worker puts the final touches at the Museum of Islamic Art in downtown Cairo

The Egyptian capital’s Museum of Islamic Art — the world’s largest — was officially reopened by President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday after an eight-year restoration project.

However the public will still have to wait another two weeks until the start of September to be able to view its 25 galleries containing 2,500 artefacts of great artistic or historic value, chosen from some 100,000 items.

Culture Minister Faruq Hosni, who also attended the official reopening after the 10-million-dollar renovation, said the project had resulted in “a great change in the way the works are exhibited, protected and lit.”

Among the treasures on show are a gold-inlaid key to the Kaaba, the massive building that houses the black stone in the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, and the oldest Islamic dinar ever found, dating back to the year 697.

Rare manuscripts of the Koran can also be seen among exhibits as diverse as Persian carpets, Ottoman-era ceramics and ancient instruments used in the sciences of astronomy, chemistry and architecture.

The 1903 building in central Cairo was originally built to house and protect the country’s rich heritage from looters of antiquities.

Saturday’s opening of the museum comes during the first week of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Posted by : Yasmine Aladdin

Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Categories: Classical Tours, Cultural Tourism, Latest new in Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Campaign to release a 37-million-year-old whale skeleton detained at Cairo Airport – Egypt.

37-million-year-old whale skeleton

37-million-year-old whale skeleton

Three environmental NGOs have launched a campaign demanding the release of a 37-million-year-old whale being held in Cairo Airport’s cargo village. The skeleton was returned to Egypt from the US after it underwent restoration at Michigan University for no charge.

Al-Masry Al-Youm reported yesterday that customs are asking the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) to pay LE200,000 in duties.

National Geographic’s August issue publishes the story of the whale’s discovery and information on other ancient animals who lived in Wadi el-Hitan, or the “Valley of the Whales,” in Fayoum. The publication compares the importance of the information revealed by this discovery to that written on the Rosetta stone.

Mahmoud Abdel Moneim el-Qaysooni, environmental tourism minister adviser, said two problems face the skeleton after its restoration. The first is the fact that the Egyptian Geology Museum was demolished 28 years ago to make way for the first of Cairo’s metro lines. Another museum was built in Maadi, Cairo, but is unsuitable for showcasing the whale skeleton. A new museum in Wadi el-Hitan natural reserve has been designed, but is not yet built.

The second problem el-Qaysooni referred to is museum financing: The EEAA is expected to establish the museum even though it doesn’t have the necessary resources.

According to el-Qaysouni however, a suitable museum can be built in 60 days using the environmental resources of the nature reserve, with a medium budget.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

Reference: almasryalyoum.com

Posted by: Yasmine Aladdin

Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Categories: Cultural Tourism, Discoveries in Egypt, Recent descoveries in Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Howard Carter’s House and the West bank of Luxor.

Howard Carter's house on the west bank of Luxor (Photo: Katy Dammers)

Howard Carter’s house on the west bank of Luxor (Photo: Katy Dammers)

Howard Carter’s house is located on the west bank of Luxor just before you enter the Valley of the Kings. Unfortunately, it was neglected for a long time and was not being used for anything except collecting dust. Dr. Hawass decided that this was unacceptable and that the house of Howard Carter should be returned to its former glory.

Office of Howard Carter with his original paperwork from the excavation of Tutankhamun's tomb (Photo: Katy Dammers)

Office of Howard Carter with his original paperwork from the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb (Photo: Katy Dammers)

Around the same time that the Carter House project started, he began a very important project with a foreign team to make laser scanning of three tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. The three tombs are: Seti I, Tutankhamun and Nefertari. (Go here to view short videos on how this work was carried out.) He  chose these tombs because they are unique and can never be repeated again. Currently the tombs in the Valley of the Kings and Queens are visited by thousands of tourists each year. If this situation is not changed the tombs will be irreversibly damaged and eventually completely destroyed.

Dr. Zahi Hawass’s  plan then is to finish the laser scanning and make a replica valley to the north-west of Howard Carter’s house. This replica valley will have the three tombs of Seti, Tutankhamun and Nefertari and we will be closing the original three tombs to the public (Nefertari and Seti’s tombs have been closed off to the public for several years now). Some visitors might think that this is denying them the chance to see these tombs. However, this is the only away of preserving the tombs for humanity. As of right now visitors cannot see Nefertari or Seti’s tomb at all, so in fact the replica valley will provide access to these tombs that have been closed off completely.

Because of the large number of tourists it is impossible for the guards to keep a close eye on everyone, making sure that they don’t take pictures with their cameras or scrape their bags across the fragile walls of the tombs. Therefore it is very important to break the overwhelming number of tourists into three separate, more manageable groups. This will be of great benefit to the monuments and will also provide tourists with a more enjoyable and less crowded experience.  We hope to have this in place by October 1, 2010.

Reference : drhawass.com

Posted by : Yasmine Aladdin

Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Categories: Ancient Egypt, Cultural Tourism, Sightseeing Tours | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Ancient Egyptian Civilization

Pharaohs :

5,000 years ago, the pharoahic nation was founded in Egypt, and they were a sophisticated and civilized society. This nation left a very large amount of monuments and temples. Most of the reminders of this well known nation is preserved in Egypt. These monuments draw many tourists, who like to watch and appreciate these reminders, to Egypt.

Some of the well-known artefacts of ancient pharaohic civilization are:

Pyramids:

Perhaps the most known pyramids are the three pyramids of Giza, but there are more than 70 pyramids along the Nile. Beside the giant three pyramids is Sphinx, a lion-bodied guard of the pyramids. The pyramids were built more than 4,000 years ago in the eras of Kings Cheops, Chephren and Mykerinus. These three kings’ bodies are buried in these enormus pyramids. The biggest pyramid, Cheops’, is known as the Great Pyramid because it measues 145 meters tall. Touristic places beside the pyramids are The Solar Barque Museum, The Sphinx Complex and The Sphinx Sound and Light Show.

Saqqara Complex:

The vast necropolis of  Saqqara including Memphis is located 24 kilometers south of central Cairo. Memphis was founded in about 3000 BC by Menes, along wiyh 11 other pyramids. Memphis was the administrtive capital of ancient Egypt. You will find Zoser’s funerary complex, Mereruka’s tomb, and Serapeum. Serapeum is a large limestone structure and an amazing collection of mummified Apis bulls in gargantuan granite coffins of various kings such as King Teti.

Valley of the Kings in Thebes:

The Valley of the Kings covers its secrets well. The grand pyramids of the earlier pharaohs were too tempting to attract stealers, so from the eighteenth to twentieth Dynasties, about 26 pharaohs built their tombs in the valley. Carving them into the eterning mountains, far from any messing hand. Famous tombs there belong to Tutankhamun, Ramses the Great and Tuthmosis III. This valley is located in Luxor.

There are other interesting tombs to see in the Valley of the Queens and nobles.

Reference : http://www.wikipedia.com

Posted by: Hadeer Bahaa

Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955

Categories: Ancient Egypt, Cultural Tourism, Sightseeing Tours | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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