Showing posts with label Zahi Hawas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zahi Hawas. Show all posts

Monday, 15 August 2011

A message to all my friends! | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass

Zahi's last word? A message to all my friends! | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass: "A message to all my friends!

I am sorry that I have not updated my website for the past several weeks. I have had to spend a great deal of my time dealing with false accusations that have been made against me. I am now waiting for the Office of the Attorney General to finish their investigation; after this I will be free to publish the details of these ridiculous allegations.

I am glad to say that I have also found time to work on a book about the Egyptian Revolution, and its effect on our antiquities. I am also getting ready to start the second part of my archaeological autobiography, Secrets from the Sand Part II.
My life as a private person is very different from my life as an antiquities official, and apart from having to deal with false accusations, I am enjoying my freedom from the great responsibility I have been carrying for the past nine years. I get up early and go to my office, where I have all of my Egyptological books. As I have done for most of my life, I work seven days a week. I do not use my private car; I take taxis and walk on the street, enjoying the crowds of Cairo. Every day I am blessed to see first-hand how so many Egyptians respect and love me.
The other day, I sat beside a taxi driver who lives in Nazlet el-Samman, the village at the foot of the pyramids. He told me that he had witnessed how some of the camel and horse drivers united against me during the Revolution, because they had seen this as an opportunity to get rid of me. The driver told me, “Sir, anyone who loves his country should know that the project you did at the pyramids will make this area into an open museum, not a zoo like it is now.” He added that he had seen himself how so many of the drivers deceive and cheat the tourists, and that my project would make all the drivers equal, because there will be a system, controlled by police, antiquities officials, and health authorities. He also told me that the Egyptians are proud of me and love me, and that all the foreigners who ride in his taxi know me, and that this made him happy and proud. And at the end, he refused to take the taxi fare!
Another time, I was walking in Lebanon Street, waiting to cross. A car with five young men and women inside stopped and asked if they could take a picture with me, because I am the “Indiana Jones of Egypt.” I was honored to be photographed with them.
Strangers have even called me to offer their support, like one lady who said she had spent a long time trying to get my cell number, so she could tell me that many people know that the people writing against me are wrong, and not to worry. “You live in our hearts,” she told me. Another family invited me to have sohoor with them. The mother told me that her nine-year-old son was dreaming of meeting me. So I went, and brought one of my children’s books for him.
These are only a few stories of the many that I experience every day. People in Egypt never see a former minister walking in the street, but I love to do it, and love to buy things on the street and meet the shopkeepers as well.
Although I am being attacked regularly in the media, I have decided not to appear on local television, and not to spend all my time defending myself. I decided to write this short update simply to tell my friends all over the world that I am fine. The preservation and promotion of our priceless heritage is my life, and I will never give up. I am happy now to work for antiquities as a private person, and I will always do anything in my power to help.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Friday, 22 July 2011

Controversy over legality of Egypt’s antiquities ministry

It gets worse, apparently Zahi's appointment was illegal, the ministry was illegal and any decisions he made were illegal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Youm7 English Edition | Controversy over legality of Egypt’s antiquities ministry: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Sacking Zahi Hawass is a sign of Egypt's ongoing revolution | Osama Diab | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Sacking Zahi Hawass is a sign of Egypt's ongoing revolution:

"Zahi Hawass, one of Egypt's top archaeologists, symbolises the point where our proud and glorious past intersects with a bleak and uncertain present. In the mind of many Egyptians he is associated with Egypt's modern corrupt rulers rather than the great pharaohs of ancient times.

In Arabic, the word 'pharaoh' always has positive connotations except when it's used to describe an absolute and ruthless ruler or manager. This is exactly the kind of pharaoh Hawass was in the eyes of many of his compatriots.

Since Hosni Mubarak's departure from office, protests that demanded the removal of Hawass from his position as minister of antiquities were uninterrupted. These were held by fellow archaeologists, the guards of heritage sites, or simply Tahrir Square protesters who see him as an antiquity that they have no interest in embalming from the era of Egypt's latest pharaoh, Mubarak. This pressure has yielded results and Hawass did lose the job he was offered during the 18-day revolution in a cabinet shuffle that aimed, but failed, to calm down angry anti-Mubarak protesters.

If Egyptian archaeology was a country, then certainly Hawass would be its Mubarak. Just like his former boss, he is besieged by allegations about his business interests, accusations of turning Egypt's archaeology into a one-man show by claiming credit for scientific findings and being the sole speaker about Egyptology in the local and international media. Of course, he's also committed the unforgivable sin of being one of Mubarak's favourite men.

Hawass is the epitome of the kind of self-centred, egocentric and possibly charismatic figure that the revolution has risen against, along with the kind of Mubarak-era politics he used to symbolise. Even though he's been called Egypt's Indiana Jones, the name that probably describes him best is his very own, Zahi, which means vain or conceited in Arabic.

Evidence of his narcissistic personality is not difficult to find. In April he launched a clothing line named after himself in Harrods, and his last book, A Secret Voyage, is Egypt's most expensive book ever, carrying a price tag of 22,000 Egyptian pounds (about £2,300) with only 750 copies printed, and all signed by Egyptian archaeologists.

With his rock-star attitude, Hawass might have managed to bring archaeology more into the headlines – not necessarily because of his fine discoveries or first-class research, but mainly because of his rather eccentric behaviour. Even though the man was, or made himself, synonymous with Egyptian archaeology in the minds of many, whoever succeeds Hawass is certainly not going to be the media sensation he managed to be. Hawass will be missed by journalists searching for colourful and amusing stories, but unlike his ancestors, this pharaoh's mystique might be short-lived as a symbol of an unpopular bygone era in Egypt's history.

The sacking of Hawass, Egypt's latest victim of the revolution, shows that the 18-day revolution was only the mother of numerous baby revolutions against little pharaohs or mini-Mubaraks in ministries, universities, factories, political parties and so on, and his departure marks another victory for those trying to clear the country of its deep-rooted authoritarianism.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Associated Press: New Egyptian Cabinet sworn in by military ruler

The Associated Press: New Egyptian Cabinet sworn in by military ruler: "The Cabinet no longer contains an antiquities minister, a position recently held by Zahi Hawass, who campaigned for repatriation of Egyptian antiques from European museums and was criticized for boosting his own career at the expense of younger archaeologists.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Fall of Zahi Hawass | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine

The antipathy toward Hawass in Egypt may be difficult to grasp in the West, where he is typically found on American television, fearlessly tracking down desert tombs, unearthing mummies and bringing new life to Egypt’s dusty past. But in Egypt he has been a target of anger among young protesters who helped depose President Hosni Mubarak in February. Hawass had been accused of corruption, shoddy science and having uncomfortably close connections with the deposed president and first lady⎯all of which he has vociferously denied.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/The-Fall-of-Zahi-Hawass.html#ixzz1SYQbClNu
The Fall of Zahi Hawass | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Sunday, 17 July 2011

More on Zahi

Egypt’s Zahi Hawass resigns - Bikya Masr: "CAIRO: According to local reports, Egypt’s minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass has resigned his post. The move came as Prime Minister Essam Sharaf informed the country’s well-known Egyptologist that he would not be continuing on in his position.

Egyptian daily newspaper al-Youm al-Saba’a also reported that upon hearing the news, angry archaeologists, who had been camped out in front of the ministry, allegedly chased the embattled minister throughout the streets before his bodyguards were able to get Hawass into a taxi.

The move comes after a series of Bikya Masr articles detailing Hawass’ transgressions as a minister and the widespread anger and resentment over his continued position as minister. The New York Times also recently published an article that detailed the man’s large financial sums he takes from international publications in order to appear on their television programs.

Hawass had been pushing for the return of all Egyptian artifacts to the country during his time as Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, which became the ministry of antiquities during a reshuffle of the Cabinet by former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in early February in an attempt to appease protests against the 31-year-old regime.

Last month, the now former minister won an appeal against an earlier conviction over a dispute with a Cairo bookstore.

Hawass nor the ministry have yet to make an official statement, although a number of sources say that Abdel Fattah al-Banna has been appointed to take over the ministry.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

This short video shows the feelings of Egyptians

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Egypt's antiquities minister Zahi Hawascleared in appeal | The Associated Press | News | San Francisco Examiner

Egypt's antiquities minister Zahi Hawas cleared in appeal | The Associated Press | News | San Francisco Examiner: "An appeals court cleared Egypt's antiquities minister on Wednesday of failing to implement a court order, sparing the international face of Egyptian archaeology from a year in prison.

The earlier ruling had ordered Zahi Hawass to stop bidding procedures for space in a gift shop of The Egyptian Museum, which is home to treasures like Tutankhamun's gold funerary mask. He failed to comply and was sentenced to a year in prison.

Besides the legal challenge, Hawass has found himself at the center of other trouble since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Critics accused Hawass of being too close to Mubarak, who elevated the antiquities chief to the position of a Cabinet minister shortly before his ouster in a popular uprising.

Archaeology graduates also held protests accusing Hawass of corruption and seeking publicity for himself.

Most troubling for Egypt's heritage, many antiquities sites have been looted by criminals amid the country's political upheaval.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Monday, 18 April 2011

Zahi Hawass Clothing Line | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass

Zahi now tells his side of the story on the clothing line. Zahi Hawass Clothing Line | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass: "Zahi Hawass Clothing Line

I was so happy a few days ago to announce that my clothing line is going to be sold, as it will represent my adventures in archaeology. The profits from the sale will go to benefit the 57357 Children’s Cancer Hospital here in Cairo.

This story begins in June 2010, when Lora Flaugh, the CEO of Art Zulu, a clothing company in New York City, approached me about starting a clothing line. I felt honored by this suggestion, because I don’t think any company would invest the time and money to do this unless they thought it would be a success. I wrote back to Lora in June 2010 to thank her and tell her how privileged I felt by her idea. I accepted her business proposal on the condition that the profits be donated to the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Cairo. I told her about how I sell my replica hats in order to benefit the Children’s Museum in Cairo. I am glad that the sales from these business ventures are going to benefit the children of Egypt.

I called Dr. Sharif Abul Naga, the Director of the Children’s Cancer Hospital, to tell him the good news. Two years ago, he asked me to help the hospital, and I am glad that I am now able to participate in fundraising for it. I told Dr. Naga to be in contact with Lora in order to find out when this line of clothing will make a profit and fund the hospital, and he informed me that a foundation has also been established in the States to raise funds for it as well. He asked me to become a member of the board, and I accepted with pleasure. I also asked Lora to put an advertisement next to where the clothing will be sold explaining how the profits will go to fund the hospital. I am very happy that my hat and clothing line will be able to help the children of Egypt and make them happy.

Unfortunately, stories and rumors have recently been going around about this project. In October of last year, the design company had a photo shoot in the King Tut exhibit in New York City to create advertisements. Now, months later, stories about this photo shoot are circulating, claiming that it happened in the Egyptian Museum, and that they had a model sit on actual antiquities. I can say firmly that of course none of this is true. It was, in fact, shot in New York City, at the King Tut exhibit there and nowhere near Cairo, and the photographer and crew showed the utmost respect for the antiquities there. I have never been in contact with this photographer or his crew; they were hired by the design company, but I know they at no time touched any of the artifacts or used flash photography. They used replicas for some shots and also used Photoshop in some images. The museum’s security was with them at all times to ensure the safety of the objects. It makes me sad that people are willing to believe such rumors, and I hope that the clothing line’s critics will understand that the intention of this project is for the good of the children.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Explanation of the Court Trial Against Me | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass

Zahi's side of the story. Explanation of the Court Trial Against Me | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass: "Explanation of the Court Trial Against Me

I have to tell the world right now, there is a story going around that I am going to be in jail, which is a complete misunderstanding.

Last year, we were taking bids from different companies to run a book store inside the Egyptian Museum. There is a person, who was renting a bookstore inside the Museum. He wanted to stop the bidding process, because he thought he should keep his contract. This person filed a case with the Misdemeanor Court in Agouza, Cairo, in order to stop the bidding process. This case was filed against the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), not against me personally, but against the role I was holding at that time.

However, before the case came to trial, the bidding process ended at the end of May 2010, and the Supreme Council of Antiquities (now the Ministry of State for Antiquities) chose a company, the Egyptian Sound and Light Company, to run the bookstore. Shortly after this decision was made, the court trial happened, at the beginning of June, so the SCA representatives did not have time to present evidence that the bidding had finished. Therefore, the court made a ruling that the bidding should stop. However, it was too late to do anything.

He still wanted to get his way, so this person continued to bring action against me in the court. In November 2010, the court made a ruling, that I was innocent, because as the Secretary General of the SCA, I was not in charge of legal affairs at the SCA, this was under the control of the Ministry of Culture at that time. But this was not enough for this person, he brought the case to the court again, claiming he had evidence that I was in fact in charge of legal affairs, and this time, the SCA did not have a legal representative present at the court. The court made the current ruling that I, as head of the SCA, was sentenced to a year in jail. This is how the court in Egypt works, and this is not an uncommon thing that the head of an organization gets sentenced like this. When a ruling like this is made, the defendant (in this case myself as Secretary General of the SCA at that time) has a certain amount of time to appeal the decision of the court.

Tomorrow, the head of the Legal Affairs Department at the Ministry of Antiquities will go to the court to file our appeal. He will present evidence that the bid for the bookstore contract was finished before the original court ruling, so therefore we could not follow the ruling to stop the bidding. We already had completed the bidding! I have every confidence that this matter will be cleared up very soon, so I want to tell everyone not to worry. I respect the laws of my country very highly, and the rulings of our courts. I intend to handle this matter entirely within our legal system. Nothing will cause me to lose focus from my goal of protecting the sites of Egypt.



* Zahi Hawass's blog

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Zahi imprisoned for one year?

I have now heard from three (now four source) sources that Dr Zahi Hawass has been imprisoned for one year today. If anyone has any further information or corroboration please post it.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/10246/Egypt/Politics-/Antiquities-chief-Zahi-Hawass-sentenced-to-one-yea.aspx

Bassam Ahmed posted on Luxor News's Wall.

‎Bassam wrote‎
"العربية - عاجل...مصر: حكم بسجن وزير الآثار زاهي حواس سنة وعزله من وظيفته"

http://www.talkingpyramids.com/zahi-hawass-museum-gift-shop/

http://www.montysworldonline.com/2011/04/breaking-hawass-convicted-in-court-and.html

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Al-Ahram Weekly | Egypt | Pride cometh before a fall

Al-Ahram Weekly | Egypt | Pride cometh before a fall: "Pride cometh before a fall
It was officially confirmed on Sunday, 6 March, that Zahi Hawass has stepped down as minister of antiquities in Egypt, Jill Kamil writes

Zahi Hawass, the international face of Egypt's archaeology for some 10 years, has admitted that he was no longer able to protect the country's antiquities because of the absence of police protection, and because he believes he is the victim of a campaign against him by senior officials at his ministry. What he doesn't admit is that members of his own staff have accused him of dictatorial polices concerning findings, unfairness in taking credit for the excavations of others, punishing any whose opinions do not square with his own, of hampering the aspirations of qualified graduates, of nepotism and even, in the words of ex-director of the Egyptian Museum Wafaa El-Saddik, of overseeing a system of corruption.

Days before he resigned as president in February 2011, Hosni Mubarak elevated Hawass from his position as secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) to head a new Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs (MSAA) -- which separates it from the Ministry of Culture -- something he has long been pressing for. As a member of the old guard, however, his name indelibly linked with those of Suzanne Mubarak and ex-minister of culture Farouk Hosni, so he could not expect to remain a cog in the wheel of a discredited state apparatus no matter how often or how vociferously he defended himself on his website and in public interviews.

In NatGeo Newswatch posted on 22 February, he vowed to stay on as Egypt's antiquities chief, 'so that I can continue to do everything in my power to protect Egypt's cultural heritage.' That he has failed to do. Despite repeated assurances that he has attended to the upgrading of security systems at archaeological sites all over the country, built 30 new storehouses, and tabled new legislation increasing the penalties of those found guilty of illegal dealings in antiquities, he has now been forced to admit failure.

'The antiquities guards and security forces at sites are unarmed and this makes them easy targets for armed looters,' declared Hawass, who added, 'the Egyptian police force does not have the capacity to protect every single site, monument and museum in Egypt'. Indeed, hundreds of archaeological sites all over Egypt remain inadequately protected. Objects have frequently turned up at international auction houses which have been withdrawn from sale, confiscated, and steps taken to return them to Egypt. There is a certain irony, however, in the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the retrieval of stolen goods by Hawass personally, while little mention is made of steps taken for the protection of the monuments from which they were looted.

Antiquities thieves, incidentally, are not all galabeya -clad looters as the stereotype has it, or traders like those who were caught red-handed in Minya carrying stolen artefacts for which a dealer was going to pay them LE5 million ( The Egyptian Gazette, 21 May 2003). Unfortunately the antiquities trade embraces all levels from the lowest to the highest. In 2004 Tark El-Siwaissi, chairman of the National Democratic Party's office in the Giza governorate was remanded in custody pending investigation. He was accused of having amassed a fortune estimated at LE33 million, from smuggling Pharaonic antiquities to Europe and America for the previous two years. He had allegedly made hefty bribes to certain high ranking individuals to ensure his appointment in an area which gave him easy access to antiquities officials who would help him conduct his illicit smuggling. Six officials were implicated in the scandal ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 22-28 May 2003).

As secretary-general of the SCA, Hawass was both admired and criticised, and he responded to both with aplomb. Self-possession is the hallmark of his character. When accused of being pro-American he said: 'I give nothing for nothing.' When foreign missions accused him of creating so much bureaucratic red-tape that he hindered their activities he responded, 'requesting the mapping and photographing of each concession, the publication of all discoveries made within five years after first clearance of the finds, new concessions put on hold in order to better focus attention on existing endangered sites like the Delta, these rules are all reasonable, and in the interests of Egypt'. When accused of being no Egyptologist he waxed lyrical on his discoveries: the workmen's cemetery at Giza, the Valley of the Golden Mummies, the tomb of the Graeco-Roman governor of Bahriya, a 5,000-year-old tomb at Saqqara, new evidence of granite quarries in Aswan, and the ruins of a gigantic temple at Akhmim.

Anyone who has excavated in Egypt well knows that no discoveries could be announced without authorisation by Zahi Hawass, and woe betide anyone who violated the rules. Famously, in 2003, he banned British archaeologist Joann Fletcher from working in Egypt, denouncing her as 'nuts' when she announced, on a Discovery Channel documentary that she thought a previously-discovered mummy in the Valley of the Kings might be that of Nefertiti. Furious that he was not been given the opportunity to make the announcement himself, Hawass called it 'inconclusive, premature', and banned her from Egypt 'because she had broken the rules'. It has long been known that if one didn't want to incur his wrath, it was wise not to pre-empt him. He is known to have a terrible temper.

Preferential treatment has never won him kudos. I am reminded of the episode regarding Tutankhamun's mummy in the Valley of the Kings. In January 2005, he declared that it would be removed from the tomb for forensic examination in Cairo. Accused by high-ranking and respected compatriots on the Permanent Committee of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (including Abdel-Halim Nureddin and Gaballah Gaballah) of unscientific behaviour, and putting the mummy at risk, he changed his mind and decided that the examination would take place in situ. But in granting exclusive rights to a documentary team of the National Geographic, while excluding Egyptian photographers and journalists, he infuriated not a few.

In an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly back in August 2005 (Issue 757) Hawass mentioned that he hoped, during his tenure, to be able to raise the living standards of Egyptian archaeologists, providing them with medical insurance, a syndicate, and allowing them to make a more active lead in archaeological work in their own land. He fell short of his promise, which is why there were demonstrations outside the SCA building on three occasions last month. He was targeted by concerned students and archaeologists demanding his resignation. His promise of 900 archaeology internships to a representative group did not do much to soothe their anger.

And angry too are archaeologists who claim that in not announcing the truth about the break-in in Cairo Museum last month, and declaring the objects safe, he allowed the thieves to make away with treasures which are probably already in some private collection abroad. And, in failing to tell the truth about the broken objects being restored he is until today keeping bad news at bay.

'He doesn't miss out on an excellent photo opportunity like the discovery of the statue of Akhenaten as an offering bearer by a young protester near the southern wall of the museum in Tahrir Square, but he opts out of telling the truth about the 11 missing shwepte figures,' said one disgruntled archaeologist who is pleased to hear that Hawass will not be part of the first post-revolutionary government.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Monday, 25 October 2010

Want a job with Zahi!!! - from EEF

*Administrative Assistant, Office of the Secretary General*

The Supreme Council of Antiquities seeks to hire an administrative assistant, for a one-year position, renewable on an annual basis, beginning in mid-April, 2011.

The Administrative Assistant offers support to the Secretary General in administrative tasks requiring native proficiency in the English language. These tasks include, but are not limited to:

-- Editing written correspondence in English from handwritten drafts or dictation.
-- Editing English language reports, articles, and other written material prepared by the Secretary General or his staff.
-- Researching Egyptological and administrative matters in order to support the Secretary General in the decision-making process.
-- Compiling and presenting information in the form of database records, spreadsheets, and narrative reports.
-- Building and maintaining a database of images for use by the Secretariat, including basic manipulation of digital images and identification of images for database records.
-- Assisting with the gathering of content, editing, and uploading of material for the English SCA web site.
-- Coordinating with Egyptian colleagues to carry out assignments as necessary.

The Administrative Assistant works under the direct supervision of the Consultant to the Secretary General.

Desired skills include:
-- Excellent organizational skills.
-- Proficiency in written English.
-- Computer literacy, including standard office applications. Familiarity with Adobe Suite, Filemaker, and/or Dreamweaver a plus.
-- Basic general knowledge of Egyptology, including specialized terms, and familiarity with standard reference works.
-- Proficiency in at least one European language in addition to English.
-- Ability to multitask.
-- Ability to work in a fast-paced and often high-pressure environment.

Please send a copy of your CV, two references, and a writing sample to Noreen Doyle at wenamun@aol.com AND Rania Galal at galalrania@yahoo.com.
Candidates will be short-listed by interview (in person or over Skype) and may also be asked to submit samples of work upon request.

Beth Asbury BA(Hons) MPhil AIfA,
Administrative Assistant,
The Foreign Office of Dr. Zahi Hawass,
Supreme Council of Antiquities,
3 El Adel Abou Bakr Street, Zamalek, Cairo, EGYPT

Friday, 20 August 2010

The Hibis Temple in Kharga Oasis | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass

Kharga oasis is a day trip from Luxor and it would seem from this article well worth a visit now the temple is reopened. I hope to go there in SeptemberThe Hibis Temple in Kharga Oasis | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Symposium and Opening of the Carter House

I have just heard (thanks for finding out Sharon) that the event on 4th is open to the general public. There are lectures from 9-12 at the Mummification Museum, then the Carter House opening from 12-4 and then more lectures from 4-9. Lots of great speakers including Dr Zahi Hawass, Otto Schaden, Salima Ikram, Donald Ryan and Nicholas Reeves amongst others

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Exclusive Interview: Dr Zahi Hawass in Indianapolis | Heritage Key

Good Bye Zahi Hawass. He has confirmed his retirement here. I for one will miss him I think he has done a fantastic job to raise the profile of EGYPTIAN Egyptology. Also Inspectors here have much more pride in their work and opportunities for training. Exclusive Interview: Dr Zahi Hawass in Indianapolis | Heritage Key

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Dr Zahi Hawass visits Luxor – part 3 Mosque of Abu Haggag

The last stop on Dr Zahi Hawass tour of Luxor was the formal opening of the renovated mosque. We left the temple of Hatshepsut and proceed to the Nile and Ibrahim Soliman was waiting for us with motor boats which took us across the Nile. A short walk to Luxor temple and he escorted us through the temple as a short cut to the mosque. There was a formal reception with a video describing the renovations. Then we proceed in to the mosque, there was a huge surge of men going into the left hand side of the mosque to the rhythmic chanting of the men. It was a powerful and emotional scene. I snuck round the right-hand side and took some photos. I do encourage you to visit this mosque it is really interesting and you will be very welcome. Avoid prayer times obviously. Back in Dec 2007 I visited the mosque when the renovations had just started. I think the pictures speak for themselves I have tried to match the shots.


















Dr Zahi Hawass visits Luxor part 2 - Hatshepsut

After weeks and weeks of little news suddenly I have lots to report. Dr Zahi Hawass visit to Luxor was a definite highlight this month. One of the stops on his journey was the temple of Hatshepsut. He was there to officially open the visitors centre at the site and the review the first trials of the lightening system for the Theban necropolis.



The visitor centre has some pictures of the site, a terrific model of the entire site reconstructed with both Montuhotep, Tutmosis II and Hatshepsut temple shown in detail. They used the flat platform reconstruction of the Montuhotep temple. I did get a photo but the reflections of the overhead lights spoiled it. It was official opened with the unveiling of a plaque. Then a short film was shown describing the site, Dr Samir and Dr Zafi are seated in the front row and Dr Sabry is beside them and then we explored the site.



Finally we took the tuff tuff, little train to view the effect of the first stage of the flood lightening of the West Bank. Luckily I was sitting next to Mansour Boraik and managed to get a bit of information. It is planned that the entire West Bank will be lit and tourists will be able to visit. They need to get security sorted out as well as the lights and he expects to have the sites open in the New Year. Wow!!

I have already published my picture of the lights, which was just taken on a camera phone, but I like it so much you can have it again :)

Dr Zahi Hawass visits Luxor part 1 – Carter House

On the West Bank on the round about that leads to the valley of kings there is a mud brick house which was used by Howard Carter when he was excavating there. It was built around 1910 as there are commemorative bricks with that date. It is not the house on the hill but at ground level. For many, many years there have been rumours that it was going to be made into a museum about the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen but nothing seem to happen.




Well all that is changing, as you can see from the above plan there is an ambitious plan to redevelop the entire area and to refurbish the Carter House at the same time. If you look at the detail plan you can read in English the description of the various rooms, it looks as though it is going to a very interesting visitor centre.



It is being driven by this man who when I asked his name told me he was a Major General. Apparently if you are a General for 3 years you become a Major General and he has been a General for 6 years, so I ended up calling him Major, Major General and never found out his real name. He is driving the project forward big time and expects to have it finished by 4th November otherwise as we would say ‘heads will roll’. He certainly seemed to have a lot of power as my driver translated some of his conversation for me and he was defiantly barking out orders. The army will be brought in and they will work round the clock.



The house is in a shabby and dilapidated state but the architect Hany El Miniawy has done projects like this before. Try Googling on his name and you will be very impressed, he is a top notch guy.



He has to turn this



in to this





Quite a task considering its present state, I asked him if he was worried about ground water issues on this mud brick development if they landscape and this needs watering. He proceed to blind me with science but it was obvious he knew what he was talking about and had taken that in to consideration. Apparently the building is made of heba or green bricks, green referring to their maturity rather than their colour, on a good foundation. The water table is far away and the building itself will be protected.



So we were ready for our big wigs to arrive. First Dr Zahi Hawass came and the architect spent some time with him explaining the various stages.



Then Dr Zahi was interviewed by the media, sadly everything was in Arabic but there are lots of details on Dr Zahi Hawass’s website http://www.drhawass.com/blog/press-release-new-developments-luxor.



Lastly Dr Samir Farag, the governor of Luxor arrived to be shown the site. Then we all raced of to Hatshepsut’s temple …… more of Dr Zahi's visit to come when we go to Hatshepsut and the mosque of Abu Haggag