Egypt’s tourism industry has been battered since last year’s revolution, but here, beside the pyramids of Giza, officials are trying to attract the visitors back.
The tomb of Meresankh, whose name means lover of life, will be opened to the public for the first time in nearly 25 years later this year, while five other tombs of high priests — buried under the desert sands for decades — will be thrown open.
“We want to give people a reason to come back, to give them something new,” said Ali Asfar, director general of archaeology on the Giza plateau.
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To the south of Cairo, authorities are also planning to reopen the famous Serapeum at Sakkara, a massive underground temple where sacred bulls were thought to have been buried in the huge granite and basalt sarcophagi — each weighing 60 to 100 tons — that sit in chambers flanking the long galleries.
I didn’t know the Serapeum was closed off. I think I went in there in 1996 or perhaps earlier in the 1990s. I have to say, that was the creepiest place I’d been in over there, more so than the bottom of Hatchepsut’s unused tomb. Long lines of huge sarcophagi with their lids open, just like some alien race had awoken from the dead. . . . .shudder