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
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