Egypt has opened to the public the tombs of leading retainers of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun at Saqqara, south of Cairo, in a desperate bid to lure back tourists who have avoided the country since the revolt in February that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
Unemployed guides at Saqqara, one of the great archaeological sites of the world, speak hopefully of the publicity surrounding the grand opening of seven tombs boosting foreign interest in Egypt's past. They stress that never before have visitors been able to see the tomb of Maya, Tutankhamun's treasurer, with its scenes of bearers bringing offerings, or of the young pharaoh's general, Horenheb, with incised stone carvings of his military victories.
But it may some time before fascination with ancient Egypt will be enough to make tourists forget the recent television pictures they have seen of fighting in Tahrir Square.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Can a tomb bring Egyptian tourism back to life?
The Independent, UK (Patrick Cockburn)