Mr. Ahmed Essa, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, during his visit today to inaugurate and inspect antiquities projects in a number of archaeological sites in the governorates of Qena and Luxor, in preparation for the winter tourism season, inspected the latest developments in the restoration work of the Great Hall of Columns in the Karnak temples, accompanied by Dr. Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and Dr. Fathi Yassin, Director General of Upper Egypt Antiquities, and Dr. Mustafa Al-Saghir, Director General of Karnak Antiquities, in addition to inspecting the visitor center of the temple and following up the implementation of the non-monetary transfer system.
Stages of the project to restore the Great Hall of Columns
During the tour, the minister listened to a detailed explanation from the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, about the stages of the project to restore the Great Hall of Columns, which contains 134 columns, with the aim of removing dirt and soot and showing the original colors of the temple, pointing out that all the work was done by pure Egyptian hands from the youth of the restorers. And archaeologists under the supervision of the projects sector of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
Dr. Mostafa Waziri indicated that the restoration of the southern side of the Column Hall was completely completed, with 65 columns out of 134, and the work also included mechanical and chemical cleaning of the columns, injection of separate places, and strengthening of weak parts. The colors were also isolated with a suitable material that preserved them from the effects of sunlight and weather factors. He pointed out that work is underway to restore the northern side of the hall in order to finish it as soon as possible, thus completing the restoration of the hall’s columns completely.
He added that the southeastern part of the hall was covered with a wooden ceiling, after the approval of the Permanent Committee of Egyptian Antiquities, to preserve the colors from direct sunlight and the influence of weather factors.
The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities expressed his full pride in the work team of restorers and his appreciation for their efforts, which resulted in these great results, describing the work as a huge achievement, stressing that the ongoing restoration work in the Karnak temples, which coincides with the approaching start of the winter tourist season and the increasing growth that Luxor governorate will witness. In the incoming tourist movement, it will contribute significantly to improving the tourist experience, especially because the Karnak temples represent great importance as it is one of the most important Egyptian tourist destinations in Luxor.
During his tour of the western mainland of Luxor, the minister directed the necessity of providing larger spaces for parking spaces for cars and tourist buses in the Colossi of Memnon area, in order to ensure the absorption of the expected growth of tourism movement that the governorate will witness during the winter tourist season.
The minister also called on the Egyptian Federation of Tourist Chambers and the Chamber of Travel and Tourism Agencies Companies to instruct tourism companies to organize the arrival of tourist groups to some archaeological sites with a small capacity, such as the Edfu antiquities area, which accommodates about 800 people per hour, in order to ensure the improvement of the tourism experience.