Is Egypt renovating the pyramids?
Egypt’s ambitious project to restore the Menkaure pyramid has sparked a heated debate among experts and the public alike. The project, led by Mostafa Waziri, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, aims to restore the pyramid’s original granite casing, which has been lost over time. However, the initiative has been met with criticism and sarcasm, with some likening it to ‘straightening the Tower of Pisa’.
The Restoration Project
The Menkaure pyramid, located beside the Sphinx and the larger Khafre and Cheops pyramids at Giza, was originally encased in granite. Over time, this casing has been lost, and the current restoration project aims to reconstruct this granite layer. The work is expected to last three years and has been dubbed by Waziri as “Egypt’s gift to the world in the 21st century”.
Despite the grand intentions, the project has been met with criticism. Egyptologist Monica Hanna has been particularly vocal, decrying the project as an ‘absurdity’ and calling for a halt to such interventions in the management of Egyptian heritage. She argues that international principles on renovations prohibit such interventions and has called on all archaeologists to ‘mobilise immediately’.
The public has also reacted with sarcasm to the project. Comments on social media have included suggestions for projects to straighten the Tower of Pisa and to wallpaper the pyramids, highlighting the perceived absurdity of the renovation.
The controversy surrounding the restoration of the Menkaure pyramid underscores the delicate balance between preserving historical heritage and making it accessible and appealing to the public. As the debate continues, it remains to be seen how this ambitious project will impact Egypt’s rich archaeological legacy.
What is the Menkaure pyramid?
The Menkaure pyramid is one of the three pyramids located at Giza, Egypt. It is the smallest of the three and was originally encased in granite.
What is the aim of the restoration project?
The project aims to restore the pyramid’s original granite casing, which has been lost over time.
Why is the project controversial?
Critics argue that the project is an inappropriate intervention in the management of Egyptian heritage. They believe that such renovations are prohibited by international principles.
Menkaure Pyramid: One of the three pyramids located at Giza, Egypt. It is the smallest of the three and was originally encased in granite.
Granite Casing: A layer of granite that was originally present on the Menkaure pyramid. Over time, this casing has been lost.
Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities: The government body responsible for the conservation, protection, and regulation of all antiquities and archaeological excavations in Egypt.
International Principles on Renovations: Guidelines and standards set by international bodies to ensure the appropriate preservation and restoration of historical and cultural sites.