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Egypt: a project to renovate a pyramid sparks controversy

For some, it is “the project of the century”, for others “an absurdity”: a new plan to renovate the pyramid of Mykerinos, on the Giza plateau, is shaking up all of Egypt.

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Egypt: a project to renovate a pyramid sparks controversy

For some, it is “the project of the century”, for others “an absurdity”: a new plan to renovate the pyramid of Mykerinos, on the Giza plateau, is shaking up all of Egypt.

In a video published Friday, the head of Egyptian Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, shows workers aligning granite blocks on the base of the Mykerinos pyramid, the lowest of the three pyramids of Giza. When it was built, the pyramid of Mykerinos was covered in granite. Over time, it has lost part of its covering. The current project aims to restore this layer of granite in order to restore the pyramid to its original appearance. This “renovation” will last “three years” and will be “a gift from Egypt to the world in the 21st century”, welcomes Mr. Waziri, head of the Egyptian-Japanese mission in charge of the project, ensuring that it this “will allow us to see, for the first time, the pyramid of Mykerinos as it was built by the ancient Egyptians”.

Also read: A missing arm of the Nile allowed the construction of the pyramids of Giza

But, under the video, dozens of horrified commentators lost their temper. “Not possible!” replies, visibly outraged, Egyptologist Monica Hanna on Facebook. “All that was missing was to tile the pyramid of Mykerinos! When are we going to stop the absurdity in the management of Egyptian heritage?”, she writes again. “All international principles on renovations prohibit such interventions, all archaeologists must mobilize immediately,” she says. Online, Internet users are all going with their sharp barbs: “When will the project to straighten the Tower of Pisa?” writes one, in reference to the Italian monument known precisely because it is leaning. “Rather than tiles, why not wallpaper on the pyramids?”, suggests ironically, another Internet user.

The question of heritage preservation in Egypt - a country which counts on tourism for 10% of its GDP and where the Cheops pyramid is located, the only one of the seven wonders of Antiquity still visible today - is often raised. subject of lively debate.

The recent destruction of entire sections of historic Cairo has strongly mobilized a civil society that is almost banned from political activities and which now concentrates the bulk of its fight against the regime in the area of ​​town planning and heritage. In recent days, the debate has focused on a 15th-century mosque in Alexandria, in the north, the Abu al-Abbas al-Morsi Mosque. The governorate has just announced that it is opening an investigation after a contractor in charge of renovation work decided to repaint the ornate, sculpted and colorful ceilings of the largest mosque in Egypt's second city in white.

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