Monday,20 May, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1428, (31 January - 6 February 2019)
Monday,20 May, 2019
Issue 1428, (31 January - 6 February 2019)

Ahram Weekly

Visiting history

Nevine El-Aref on President Macron’s cultural itinerary


The Macrons at Abu Simbel Temple  photo: AFP
The Macrons at Abu Simbel Temple photo: AFP

Abu Simbel Temple in Aswan was the first stop in the French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Egypt earlier this week, a detour that came within the 2019 Egypt-French cultural year initiative.

Together with his wife Brigitte, Macron and his delegation toured the Ramses II and Nefertari temples, and viewed documents and photographs telling the story of how both temples were salvaged. Macron and his wife were guided by Antiquities Minister Khaled Al-Enany, head of the Egyptian delegation assigned by the presidency to accompany the French group. They were also joined by Tourism Minister Rania Al-Mashat and Aswan Governor Ahmed Ibrahim.

Macron and his wife expressed admiration for the techniques used in the construction of both Abu Simbel Temples.

France was among the countries that helped Egypt rescue both Abu Simbel Temples from the rising waters of Lake Nasser in the 1960s, following the construction of the High Dam, and transfer them from their original location to their current site overlooking the lake.

Arriving in Cairo, Brigitte Macron visited the Giza Plateau and the Mohamed Ali Mosque in the Citadel. She was guided by Fatma Abdallah, who told Al-Ahram Weekly Mrs Macron had said she wished that her husband had also been able to enjoy the tour.

As well as the mosque and mausoleum of Mohamed Ali Pasha at the Citadel, France’s first lady visited King Farouk’s tea kiosk where she listened to Sufi songs from Sheikh Hussein Al-Refaai.

President Macron visited the Arts District, the Cairo Opera House and the planned Antiquities Museum at the New Administration Capital with President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi.

They inspected several buildings, as well as the two obelisks restored and transported to the New Capital late last year from Tania in Delta.

The obelisks are carved in red granite and date from the reign of Ramses II. Each is 15 metres tall and weighs 70 tons.

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