Egipska piramida
Fot. Dr Mostafa Waziri/facebook

Egypt: controversial restoration of one of the pyramids. Historians sound the alarm

Earlier this year, social media was rocked by videos of Egypt’s Menkaure pyramid in Giza – one of the country’s most famous and valuable monuments – undergoing renovation. Antiquities enthusiasts and experts alike have not left a dry eye on the ongoing investment, however, which Mostafa Waziri, head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, calls “the project of the century”.

In a series of videos posted on his Facebook profile, Waziri poses against a backdrop of workers placing blocks of granite on the base of the pyramid, which sits alongside the world-famous Sphinx and the pyramids of Khafre and Cheops. Measuring 65 metres, the tomb was erected for Pharaoh Mykerinos (Menkaure), who reigned in the 3rd millennium BC.

The pyramid of Menkaure. Photo by Kounosu, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Egipska piramida

Originally the Menkaure pyramid, like its neighbours, was covered with a stone veneer. Over the course of thousands of years, the structure lost most of its covering. The restoration aims to restore the original style of the structure by recreating the top layer of granite. The pyramids were part of the character of the desert surroundings in their current imperfect form, which is why the interference with the heritage complex is generating such extreme negative emotions. The work is expected to take three years and will be “Egypt’s gift to the world in the 21st century”, said Waziri, who heads the Egyptian-Japanese mission responsible for the project. Underneath the videos, however, there has been an avalanche of hundreds of comments from opponents of covering up history in this way. Egyptologists have expressed concern about the ongoing reconstruction of the famous monument, which they believe will greatly damage its historical fabric.

Egipska piramida
Photo by Dr Mostafa Waziri/facebook

Cairo’s outraged and mobilised civil society has publicised the issue, resulting in the Egyptian government issuing an order to halt all work. In addition, a special commission is to be set up to thoroughly investigate and look into the activities taking place. It is to be headed by renowned archaeologist Zahi Hawass, as well as experts in engineering and archaeology from the Czech Republic, Germany and the United States, as well as Egypt. The issue of heritage preservation in Egypt – the site of the Great Pyramid of Giza, the last of the seven remaining wonders of the ancient world – is often hotly debated. The recent demolition of parts of Cairo’s historic heartland has sparked public campaigns and protests, a rarity in a country where political opposition is largely banned.


Read also: Architecture | Elevation | Metamorphosis | Monument | History | Egypt | Interesting facts

Subject: Egyptian pyramid undergoes controversial renovation

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