Al-Ahram Weekly   Al-Ahram Weekly
16 - 22 December 1999
Issue No. 460
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Issues navigation Current Issue Previous Issue Back Issues

Front Page
Millennium eve preparations.

Beehive at Giza

By Nevine El-Aref

MORE than one thousand construction workers, Egyptologists, and technicians have been toiling since 5 November to prepare the site near the Great Pyramids of Giza where a spectacular millennium eve celebration is set to take place on December 31. Nevine El-Aref checks the progress of the work.

The pyramid party, called The Twelve Dreams of the Sun, and directed by French musician Jean-Michel Jarre, is being hyped as one of the world's foremost millennium eve events, to be broadcast via satellite to some 2.5 billion people worldwide.

According to Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni, 80 per cent of the preparations are complete, including a 160,000 square metre parking area, the wooden frames of the luxurious $400 per person tents, and the open area where the LE50 ticket holders will sit.

Bill Bhoquet, the French technician in charge of preparing the site, says "it took a long time to agree with the Supreme Council of Antiquities on where the exact location of the stage would be". Two main issues had to be considered: the difficulty of setting up operations on the desert sands; and finding a way to erect a stage and sound system without damaging the priceless archaeological area surrounding it.

Over 20km of cable were needed to connect the sound, light and projection equipment, Bhoquet said, but the speakers have been placed in a way such that their vibrations will not affect the monuments.

(photo: Khaled El-Fiqi)

(see interview with Zahi Hawass)

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