In Egypt, the renovation of the Giza Pyramid divides the specialists

In Egypt, the renovation of the Giza Pyramid divides the specialists

For some, it is the “project of the century”, and for others, it is the height of absurdity: in Egypt, the renovation of the pyramid is controversial.

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Video from Mustafa Waziri's Facebook account, where a layer of granite stones is added as part of "renewal".  (Facebook screenshot)

It all started with a video filmed on location and posted on Friday, January 26. We see the highly publicized head of Egyptian antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, in front of the Pyramid of Mikerinos, the lowest of the three pyramids on the Giza Plateau. Around it, workers are installing a facade made of granite blocks. Five rows have already been placed.

“disneylandization” of the site

Mustafa Waziri says that approximately 5,000 years ago, the pyramid built of limestone blocks was partially covered at its base with red granite stones, in a total of 16 or 17 rows, which have of course disappeared since then. The project he is responsible for (in collaboration with Japan) aims to restore Mykerinos to its original appearance. Three years of work were planned and in the end, he says, “A gift from Egypt to the world of the twenty-first century”.

But this innovation raises a lot of incomprehension, as well as cynicism: “Instead of tiles, we can put wallpaper.”, mocking the netizen. Another wonders if, according to this principle, we will not look tomorrow “To straighten the Tower of Pisa”. Egyptologists do not want to laugh at all. They denounce the shift to “Disneyland”, Aimed to attract tourists and their selfies. “All international principles relating to renovations prohibit such interventions.”Famous archaeologist Monica Hanna wonders: When will the absurdity in managing Egyptian heritage end? This topic regularly raises heated discussions.

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Old buildings were demolished without warning

In Egypt, tourism represents 10% of the gross domestic product. State-run, heritage conservation focuses less on protecting the history of a civilization than on making it profitable. Since 2020, in the historic center of Cairo, the tombs in the City of the Dead have been demolished to make way for a highway. However, it is the oldest cemetery in the Islamic world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the beginning of January 2024, a technical center was established, A true institution for culture lovers and located in the historic pottery district of Cairo, Just destroyed without warning to widen the road.

In the sprawling capital with a population of more than 20 million, the regime is carrying out stunning roadworks. Civil society, almost forbidden from political activities, has only the terrain of town planning and heritage to confront power. But in December, the country was renewed Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is president until 2030. This battle is lost in advance.

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