Tourists are destructive

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Egyptian-pyramidsOn the 30th of April an exact replica of Tutankhamun’s tomb was installed near the 3,000-year-old original version. Why? Because we visitors, over the 90 years since the tomb was uncovered, have been slowly destroying the original.

Since that day in 1922 when Howard Carter discovered the tomb, millions of us have visted the site to see one of the very few tombs undamaged by raiders and treasure-seekers. The result has been that sweaty hands have touched the thousands-year old drawings; our breath has damaged the fabric; flash photography (strictly not allowed but frequently done and condoned by guides anxious to make a little bit money from willing tourists) has affected the colour and the tramping of feet has had its effect as well.

“Having not been built to accommodate such numbers, it has begun to deteriorate,” is the delicate way that the Egyptian authorities put it.

With the intention of preserving Egypt’s heritage, the Egyptian Government has signed a protocol with the “Society of Friends of the Royal Tombs of Egypt”, a Swiss-based heritage preservation group, to replicate Pharaonic sites of significance.  The replica Tutankhamun tomb, which has cost in excess of £410,000 to produce and will be the most accurate large-scale facsimilie to be made to date, has been created and funded by the Spanish-Based firm ‘Factum Arte’ under the supervision of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquates.

The replica tomb opened to the public on 1 May, 2014.

Heritage visitors are essential to Egypt’s tourism and its economy. So when Omayma El Husseini, the UK & Ireland Director of the Egyptian Tourist Authority says “Our heritage is something that gives Egypt its unique identity, preserving it through such projects is vitally important,” he is not understating the case.

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