Egypt: News Briefs for July 18, 2001, Egypt Antiquity News

Antiquity News Briefs

By Amargi Hillier

In Aswan the 26 kilometers of roadway has been completely re-paved. These efforts were accomplished in order to improve tourist access to the various ancient monuments in the area.

In El-Arish North Sinai there was an unearthing of a new historical monument. The site is an ancient Roman tomb made from stone bricks. It was believed to be built to by the great Roman emperor Hedriban. Ras El-Kess, where the tomb was discovered, is considered an important antiquities site in North Sinai. There is a monastery Ras El-Kess that was a location for the Popes chair at a bygone time. Some historians claim that this area was a port for warships and had witnessed the Ptelomic invasions of Egypt. Ras El-Kess is famous for being the place where the Roman leader Pompeii was defeated.

An Egyptian expedition in Damanhour has unearthed important historical utensils made from clay which date back to 5000 years. In addition, the expedition unearthed seven burial places where many skeletons were found. The expedition also found remnants of a wall of a house and skeletons of domestic animals. Such a discovery is the first of its kind in this area. Excavation of the area is still in progress. Specimens of the skeletons have been sent to laboratories so as to determine the exact date of these discoveries. Amongst the monuments unearthed are the foundations of a temple resembling a temple of the old Egyptian empire. A burial site for holy animals was also among the discoveries. These discoveries will open new horizons to the study of ancient Egyptian rituals and customs.

Update on the Ancient Magra El-Oyom Wall In Cairo

see initial Tour Egypt article & Photos

(Cairo) The current goal for the Egyptian government in regards to the Magra El-Oyom area surrounding the wall is to turn it into a tourist attraction. Dr.Abd El-Reheem Shahata, the Governor of Cairo, has agreed on the plan presented by a consultant office on the beautification of this area. He discussed one aspect of the area which focuses on the leather businesses situated too close to the ancient wall. He states, "The tannery area will be moved to the El-Robeeky area near the Suez Road. The tannery profession in itself is an ancient profession in Egypt dating back to the Pharaonic times. This profession must be preserved since it is as important as the monuments in Egypt. In the beginning, these tanneries were built remotely behind the wall. But as the city grew around them, the tanneries became positioned in the middle of a residential area and that is another reason why they have to be removed. The Chamber of Tanneries in Egypt has welcomed the idea of moving the tanneries to a more modernized industrial area. The officials found that this will be a chance to improve the quality of the leather industry in Egypt. As for residents in the tannery area, they will be compensated with new housing near the Mokaattam Hills (near the Citadel) and in Badr City, the location of the new tanneries."

The area near the wall to be beautified covers 109 feddans. Plans are to be carried out in three stages through out the coming year. There will be new commercial shops in the area but run under strict legislation so as to keep the area clean and beautiful. Buildings in the area will be of a certain height which does not exceed the height of the Magra El-Oyom Wall. All buildings will be 50 meters away from the wall to provide space for pedestrians. The Magra El-Oyom project will be joined with the renovations and the beautification of the nearby religious compound and the hanging church.

Engineer Ahmad Rabei, head consultant for the beautification of the area, said that the aim is to make this area into a major tourist attraction. He says, "A complete renovation in the area has to be performed. There are plans to build entertainment facilities such as theaters, restaurants and shopping areas."

There are also plans to build three star hotels nearby which will not exceed four stories high. A pedestrian walkway will be built on the inner side of the wall where the shops and restaurants will be found.