Sunday,19 May, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1380, (8 - 14 February 2018)
Sunday,19 May, 2019
Issue 1380, (8 - 14 February 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Giza development to open in April

The long-awaited Giza Plateau Development Project is to be inaugurated in April, reports Nevine El-Aref 

Development work at Giza Plateau
Development work at Giza Plateau

The Giza Plateau, which houses the Great Pyramid of the Pharaoh Khufu, the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is not only one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, but is also one that has a special place in the hearts of people of all nationalities.

However, in the aftermath of the 25 January Revolution the area saw negligence and the encroachment of various businesses, disfiguring the serenity of the site and also putting off visitors.

Two years ago, the Ministry of Antiquities in collaboration with the Tourist and Antiquities Police put an end to such problems by removing the encroachments and resuming the Giza Plateau Development Project that had been stopped owing to a lack of funding.

The project aims to improve the site in order to make it more tourist-friendly and give it state-of-the-art security and lighting systems.

The first phase of the project was completed in 2010 with funds of LE52 million provided by the Ministry of Tourism. It included the improvement of the roads surrounding the Pyramids and the Sphinx and the installation of surveillance cameras.

In 2016, the government provided the funds for the project to resume. 

“Almost 70 per cent of the project has now been completed, and it is scheduled to open in April,” Mohamed Ismail, director-general of the project, told Al-Ahram Weekly.

He said that after the completion of the project the plateau would be proclaimed a pedestrian area and access around the plateau would be by golf cart. A visiting route has been established to take visitors on an unforgettable promenade through the Old Kingdom necropolis. Cars and buses will park in a parking area in front of the plateau’s new entrance gate on the Cairo-Fayoum Road. The current gate on the Pyramids Road will be closed and used only for official visits.

A visitor centre will greet visitors upon arrival, preparing them for their tour with a detailed map of every monument on the site as well as background information on the Plateau and the Old Kingdom kings, queens, officials and priests. 

“State-of-the-art technology will be used to display the internal design of the Pyramids through augmented-reality screens,” Ismail said, adding that a mobile application for the Giza Plateau would be launched by the ministry on the opening of the Project. An animated documentary for children would also be provided at the visitor centre.

The tour would include 14 stops starting and ending at the visitor centre. The first stop would be the panorama area where visitors will be able to admire the three Pyramids together at once. It would then go round the Menkawre, Khafre and Khufu Pyramids, he said. 

“This route is the opposite of the older one, which started from the Great Pyramid of Khufu right next to the panorama area,” Ismail pointed out. He said that the aim of the new route was to make visitors more familiar with the site until they came face-to-face with the three Pyramids in the panorama area. 

On their return, visitors will be able to visit the Giza Western Cemetery where the tombs of Old Kingdom officials are located, as well as the solar boats. The tour will end with the Sphinx.

A zone outside the archaeological site with the plateau as its backdrop has been allocated behind the visitor centre for horse and camel-riding as well as photo shoots.

Beside the visitor centre, there is also an administration building for ministry employees and an education centre that aims to educate junior archaeologists and young people on archaeological work. The project also includes 14 tourist bazaars, a bookshop, a cafeteria and a restaurant.

The education centre is near completion, as are the service roads to be used by the Tourism and Antiquities Police, the Ministry of Antiquities, or emergency vehicles.

Rubbish bins, information desks, and portable and fixed toilets will also be provided on site. Maps and signboards with detailed information on the different monuments on the site will be provided at the foot of each monument.

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