Sunday, October 23, 2005

Threat to Ancient On at Heliopolis

This is a copy of the complete letter to the Reader's Page of the Cairo Magazine, by Raoul Chomka, entitled Comments on Qatameya, but focusing on the building of a new shopping mall on the site of the city of On: "Thank you for the excellent article on the Qatameya Rock Forest. Did you know that there are even worse cases? The German Archaeological Institute has just finished excavating at Heliopolis (Matareya) one of the most important sites in Egyptian history: the remains of the ancient city of On. The temple area is older and larger than that of Karnak. Now, building of a huge shopping mall has started right on top of the temple! It will cut through the temple’s main axis and its causeway. The Supreme Council of Antiquities doesn’t want to get involved so as not to cross the authorities in Heliopolis. The Germans are frightened and don’t want to say anything, as they might lose their permit to excavate. How is this allowed to happen? Would they build a mall in Karnak? I think that On deserves at least one article before its center is destroyed".

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