Egypt reopens its oldest pyramid after 14 years

On Thursday, Egypt reopened the Pyramid of Djoser, the first pyramid ever constructed, after a 14-year restoration costing nearly $6.6 m.

The Pyramid, a World Heritage Site recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), was built 4,700 years ago in the period of Pharaoh Djoser, one of the ancient Kings of the Third Dynasty of Egypt.

The earthquake of 1992 caused considerable damage to the interior of the shrine.

Renovations began in 2006 but were disrupted in 2011 and 2012 for “security reasons” before resuming in 2013, said Ayman Gamal Eddine, Project Manager at the Ministry of Antiquities.

The popular uprising in Egypt in 2011 overthrew the long-standing dictator Hosni Mubarak, with tourism one of the industries affected by the instability that followed.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli and foreign ambassadors attended the reopening on Thursday.

Last year, authorities revealed a 4,500-year-old burial ground near the pyramids of Giza, full of decorative wooden coffins and limestone statues.

In November 2018, the Ministry revealed the discovery of seven sarcophagi, some of them more than 6,000 years old, at a site on the edge of the Saqqara pyramid complex. Dozens of mummified cats have also been found.

Egypt’s tourist arrivals in 2018 amounted to 11.3 million, up from 5.3 million in 2016.

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