Cultural tourism: Egypt is preparing to lift the veil on a city buried for 3,000 years

Egypt, which seeks to rekindle interest in cultural tourism and Egyptology, announced the discovery of remains of a city from the time of the pharaohs, saying it was the largest ever day in the country. The city is located on the west bank of the Nile near Luxor (south), places already rich in vestiges of Pharaonic Egypt such as the Valley of the Kings or the temple of Queen Hatshepsut. The find was announced Thursday in a statement by the archaeological mission, and the ancient city will be presented to the press on Saturday by renowned archaeologist and former Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass, who oversaw the excavations. Egypt, which seeks to bring back tourists after years of instability, had already highlighted its archaeological heritage last week by organizing a much publicized parade of pharaoh mummies in Cairo. Slide-Video. Egypt: in Cairo, pharaonic spectacle and parade of royal mummies And in January, the authorities had unveiled to the public some fifty sarcophagi over 3,000 years old. These “treasures” had been discovered at Saqqara, about fifteen kilometers south of the famous pyramids of the Giza plateau. “The archaeological mission (…) discovered a buried city (…) which dates from the reign of King Amenhotep III and which continued to be used by King Tutankhâmon, that is to say 3,000 years ago,” said the archaeological mission. “Golden city” For Betsy Brian, professor of Egyptology at the American Johns Hopkins University, quoted in the press release, it is “the second most important archaeological discovery since that of Tutankhâmon’s tomb” in 1922. The news of this discovery was widely shared on social networks on Friday, with the few photos that the authorities were kind enough to disseminate while waiting for Saturday. The images show in particular a network of brick walls dating, according to the press release, from King Amenhotep III, who came to the throne in 1.391 BCE. Objects, including jewelry and pottery bearing his seal were discovered in the city, thus confirming the dating, it is specified. On April 10, 2021, a worker carries an amphora at the archaeological site of a 3,000-year-old city, The Rise of Athens, dating from the reign of Amenhotep III, discovered by an Egyptian mission near Luxor. © Copyright: Khaled DESOUKI / AFP Zahi Hawass, quoted in the press release, described this “lost golden city” as “the largest ancient city in Egypt”. “Many foreign missions searched for this city but never found it.” The mission began its excavations in September 2020 between the temples of Ramses III and Amenhotep III near Luxor, about 500 km south of Cairo. “In a few weeks (…) clay brick formations began to appear,” the statement said. The site is “in a good state of preservation, with almost entire walls and rooms full of tools of daily life”. The discovery will allow in particular “to offer us a rare glimpse of the life of the ancient Egyptians during the most prosperous hours of the (New) Empire”, according to Betsy Brian. Egyptology: “major” archaeological discoveries in Saqqara The city is made up of “three royal palaces (…) as well as the administrative and manufacturing center of the Empire”. “The mission expects to discover tombs (…) filled with treasures,” the statement further indicates. After the discovery was announced, scholars of the Pharaonic era questioned the fact that the city had only been discovered now. Bringing back tourists Archaeologist Tarek Farag said on Facebook on Friday that the area in which the discovery was made had been excavated more than 100 years ago, and that the city in question had been discovered there. “Researchers were interested in this area between 1888 and 1889 (…) then between 1912 and 1920”, he said. Eight newly discovered mummies in Egypt “The Metropolitan Museum (of New York) sent a mission there to bring to light (…) the + lost + city for the first time”, he added. He criticized the Ministry of Antiquities for denigrating the work of other archaeologists and drew up a list of academic work dating from the early 20th century on the site. Sometimes accused by his peers of being a megalomaniac businessman and of lacking scientific rigor, Zahi Hawass defends himself by displaying his past archaeological discoveries, which he considers “major”. After years of political instability linked to the popular revolt of 2011, which dealt tourism a hard blow, Egypt is seeking to bring back visitors, in particular by promoting cultural tourism and in particular the sites of ancient Egypt. .