The ancient wall painting fragments that caused a feud between Egypt and the Louvre Museum in Paris (see my article Luxor Relics Repatriated ) have been returned to Cairo.
The five frescoed pieces – believed to be from a 3,200-year-old tomb in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor – arrived by air last week.
French officials had maintained that the Louvre had acquired the fragments, known as steles, in good faith. But Egypt’s antiquities department said the Louvre bought the fragments in 2000 and 2003 despite knowing they’d been stolen in the 1980s. It broke off ties with the museum in October, saying they would be restored only when the fragments had been returned.
Egypt is stepping up demands for the restitution of many relics, including the Rosetta Stone, on display in the British Museum, and the bust of Queen Nefertiti in the Neues Museum in Berlin.
“Everything which was stolen from us should be given back,” said Zawi Hawass, the head of the antiquities department.
by Andy Moreton
If you’re travelling to Luxor to see the wonders of the Valley of the Kings, take a look at Luxique’s two selected luxury hotels: the Old Winter Palace and the Hotel La Moudira.
The Pyramids at Giza are a ‘must-see’ for tourists, but for me and my family, it was spoiled by the small army of aggressive hawkers.
Now the Egyptian authorities have erected a 12-mile chain-link security fence to put a stop to the trading. The fence comes with motion censors and CCTV. Visitors now enter the site through a security building equipped with metal detectors and x-ray machines.
Up to now, hawkers, mostly from nearby impoverished neighbourhoods looking to benefit from the tourist dollar, have had free rein.
Tourists have been besieged by peddlers selling statues, T-shirts and other trinkets while men on camels selling rides or photos sometimes refused to take no for an answer. Young men have even tried to force their way into taxi cabs carrying foreigners toward the Pyramids, looking to steer them to nearby horse stables for a ride around the site.
Egypt’s leading archaeologist, Dr Zahi Hawass, has welcomed the new security measures. “It was a zoo,” he said. “Now we are protecting both the tourists and the ancient monuments.”
The new security arrangements are the first step in a programme to modernise the site which is just outside Cairo. There’s to be a new lighting system, museum and café.
by Andy Moreton
Luxique can offer competitive rates at three award-winning luxury hotels in Cairo and Giza, including the world-renowned Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residence and the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza.