Minister of Tourism Hesham Zaazou, Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs Mohammed Ibrahim, Governor of Luxor Tarek Saad, and European Union Ambassador to Cairo James Moran, among other ambassadors opened the replica tomb of Tutankhamun in Luxor a few days ago next to the house of Howard Carter, who discovered the original tomb.
In a Ministry of Tourism press conference, Zaazou thanked the EU and the Swiss for their work on the project, which he considered to be an important addition to cultural tourism in Egypt. Tourism has declined rapidly in the three years since the 25 January Revolution, and Luxor was one of the most affected cities in Egypt, Zaazou said.
Moran said the project was suggested by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton in 2012 and that the EU was “understanding” of the tough circumstances Egyptian tourism is going through. He concluded his statement by saying that the opening of the replica tomb was a message to the world that the city is still a great place to visit. Moran also added that, while he hoped for a better upcoming tourism season, he was certain the replica tomb would help preserve the original.
Ibrahim reiterated the EU ambassador’s sentiment and said Egyptian labour would also be trained to implement similar projects in an effort to preserve Egyptian tombs.
Ambassador of Switzerland, Markus Leitner, said the project would ensure the tomb was available for future generations and that the replica included intricate details that may have disappeared on the original tomb due to time.
Luxor’s governor thanked the Ministry of Tourism for supporting the city, not just on the tomb replica, but also a series of development projects, including four solar energy stations. He also announced a competition for youth to propose ideas for improving and developing the city of Luxor.
Addressing security concerns, Saad said security cameras were being installed at landmark tourist locations around the city.
The studies required for undertaking this project were conducted by the Swiss Society of Friends of Royal Tombs of Egypt while the Madrid-based organisation Factum Arte, which specialises in this field, carried out the execution. The replica was given as a gift to Egypt by the EU.