Past Press Releases

I. Horse and Camel Stable at Giza

We finished the construction of the horse and camel stable at Giza. It is located to the south of the third pyramid of Menkaure. Near the stable we are now constructing a parking lot for tourist buses. Soon we will finally be moving the horses and camels from the immediate pyramid area. The tourists will now enter the plateau through the Fayoum Road. These changes are important for the following reasons:

1) For preservation of the pyramid and surrounding tombs;

2) The site will be clean;

3) The plateau will be quiet with no disturbance from the noise associated with with the livestock, drivers or people who sell souvenirs and postcards.

In the meantime, the owners of the horses and camels will not lose any business because the tourists will park next to the stable. However, now they will not enter the site with the horses and camels, but ride only in the desert where the pyramids will be in the background.

II. Status of the Restoration of the Great Pyramid

Work is continuing inside the Great Pyramid. We invited a French company  to provide and install a new ventilation system. They put a small machine on the top of the so-called ventilation channel inside the pyramid. Now, one cannot see it from the outside. The restoration, being conducted by the Dept of Antiquities, is presently engaged in cleaning the salt from the walls of the Grand Gallery. We know that each visitor to the pyramids and tombs give out an average of about 20 grams of water through their breath and perspiration, this ruins the plasters that cover part of the grand gallery by accumulating salts which leech to the plaster. We have almost finished the restoration of the weak parts in the Grand Gallery.

The pyramid of Khufu will be reopened to the public on January 1, 1999. this will be the second time that the pyramid has been closed for restoration and reopened.

Because we do care about the people who request to meditate inside the Great Pyramid, we have continued to give permission for those who mediate to enter the pyramid, even during the present restoration. We charge a fee of 3000 Egyptian pounds for a group of 15 or less. Of course, this fee is used to help fund the conservation of the monuments. Like any other place in the world, when you open a museum in the evening, the museum charges a fee.

On January 1, 1998 we will again close the Second Pyramid of Khafre for another year of restoration. This is part of our rotation system to accommodate between the needs of tourism and that of preservation of the monuments.

III. Good News!

We have finally recorded every inscription inside the fine relieving chambers above the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid. We found that:

1) The graffiti, one of ancient Egyptian style, has the name of the gangs who built the pyramids with titles such as "friends of Khufu".

2) We found that there are hieroglyphic sign written in one of the blocks that could only have been written by the workman who moved the stone.

3) The inscription will be published on my website soon.

IV. Aida at the Pyramids

The opera Aida was performed at the pyramids from October 12 to 17. The 3000 seats were full every day. The pyramids were beautiful in the background. I believe that the pyramids are the best site for Aida.

We know that the Temple of Isis in Philae in the most appropriate from a historical point of view, but the magic of the pyramids can still attract everyone.

Farouk Hosni, the Minister of Culture announced last week that Aida will be performed at the pyramids every year in October at the same time.

We chose a site away from the plateau, as it is a completely rocky area and it has no bad effect on the site.

V. Books

Two books are now available for all:

1) Secrets of the Sphinx, by Dr. Zahi Hawass

2) Silent Images - Women in Pharaonic Egypt, Zahi Hawass
The two books are published by the American University in Cairo Press

3) AUC also is going to publish another book for me under the title:
Ancient Egypt: Secrets Revealed From An Archaeologist's Notebook

4) In cooperation with Mark Lehner, we almost finished the writing of a book in Giza called:

Giza and the Pyramids
The book will be published by Thames and Hudson in England.

5) If you are interested in the construction of the pyramids then you can read an article about that written by me and published in the Feast Schrift  for Rainer Stadelman.

VI. Lectures

1) January 13, 1999
     Lecture in Basel, Switzerland for the Association of Friends of Egypt

2) January 20, 1999:
     Lecture in Copenhagen, in the National Museum. The Queen of Denmark will attend the lecture.

3) February 18 - 20, 1999:
   Two lectures in Canada, one at
Canadian Museum of Civilization EGYPTOMANIA!!

   Last in a series of lectures by eminent international Egyptologists. Tunnels and Secret Passages at the Giza     Plateau, by Dr. Zahi Hawass. English with simultaneous translation into French.

    the other at the Ontario Museum in Toronto.

4) April 18, 1999
     Lecture in Madrid

VII. Excavations

1) We are be working in the excavation of the tombs of the pyramid builders. We found important tombs, this discovery will be announced soon. Four statues from this excavation were found four years ago. Those statues are now exhibited at the entrance of the Cairo Museum. They belong to an Overseer of the Workman, named Inty-Shedu. Interestingly, the statues represent him him at different ages, and were found together in one niche. This is the first time in any excavation that something like this has been found, it is a unique discovery and I hope that you will visit Egypt soon to see them.

2) In the middle of November we will restart our excavation in the western field of Khufu's pyramid. In this excavation we found another beautiful statue of a dwarf made of basalt and holds in his hands the staff and the skhem, important tools to show him as an important man. There is an inscription written on the statue that identifies him as, "he who pleases his Majesty every day". The name is Prynalchw. He also shows evidence of a swollen leg, we found his skeleton and this is also the first time that the skeleton and the statue of a dwarf were found at the same time. This statue is also exhibited at the entrance of the Cairo Museum with the other four statues.

3) Excavation around the pyramid of Menkaure will also start in the middle of November. This is the area that we found the pair statue of Ramesses II.

VIII. Celebration of the Year 2000

At 12 o'clock midnight of the year 1999 and the beginning of the year 2000 we will put a gold capstone above the Great Pyramid. We know that when the king originally put the capstone on the Great Pyramid it meant that the pyramid is finished, after that the people would dance and sing because the national project is finished.

From sunset of Dec 31 until the sunrise of Jan 1, will be a big celebration in the shadow of the pyramid. There is a famous French composer who will be designing that night.

IX. The Site of Abousir

Abousir will be opened to the public soon in January or February 1999. People will be able to see the pyramid of Sahure, the tomb of Ptah Shepses and the Sun Temple.

We'll also prepare the tomb that was found by Mirsolav Verner in Abousir, the first intact tomb to be found after Tut. This tomb is for Iuf-aa, the Director of the Palace (in Dynasty 26). If you need more information about this great discovery, you can read the issue of the National Geographic Nov. 1998.

X. Ramesses II Statue Is Back to Memphis

Memphis was the capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom and the second capital during the New Kingdom. Ramesses the Great built a great temple for the god Ptah at Memphis. From this temple there are three statues in the site, the first one is lying inside a museum at Memphis, it is the second largest statue of the Ramesseum. The other two statues are standing ones on the site. But in 1954, another large statue was moved from the site of Memphis to a square in front of the rail station, the Square was called Ramesses Square after the erection of the statue in it. Since 1954, lots of construction continued in the area, such as the 6 of October Bridge, this made cause for the statue to be moved. Most Egyptologists and the Minister of Culture decided that the statue has to go back to its original home. We prepared the site for the return of Ramesses and the site of Memphis will be the first open museum in Egypt.


Dr. Zahi Hawass
Undersecretary of State For the Giza Monuments

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Past Press Releases:
Opening of tombs and Queen's Pyramids in Giza (2/98)

World Celebrates Successful Restoration of the Sphinx(5/98)

Dr. Hawass Promoted (7/98)