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Living in Luxor - News in and around Luxor in March 2011


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Zahi Hawass Re-Appointed as Antiquities Minister

24 days after his resignation the well-known and controversial egyptologist Zahi Hawass holds again the ministerial office of Antiquities. Hawass had served as head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and later became minister of state under ousted president Hosni Mubarak. In Europe he is famous because of his demands for the repatriation of Egyptian antiquities like Queen Nefertiti's Bust in Berlin (see our news) or the Rosetta Stone in London.

Zahi Hawass  Zahi Hawass in the Tunnel of KV17  Queen Nefertiti's Bust in Berlin

1st Tahrir Book Fair in Cairo

Born from the joy of the Tahrir Square revolution comes the first Tahrir Book Fair (former Cairo International Book Fair). For four days the AUC Tahrir Campus will open its doors to 100 international exhibitors selling books in all languages directly to the public. The Tahrir Book Fair will offer new publications, gift-books, bestsellers, special offers, bargains, and discounts. It will also include author signings, arts & crafts activities, and children’s activities. The four-day event begins on Thursday, March 31, at 10:00 am and will be held in the gardens and grounds of the AUC Tahrir Campus, open daily to the public from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. It will be, for those few days, the largest and most diverse bookstore in the Middle East. Admission will be free of charge, with a valid photo ID. Download complete program (61 KB).

The Tahrir Book Fair  New publication: Twentieth Century Egyptian Art  New publication: Film in the Middle East and Norrth Africa

The Missing Treasures of Cairo

On March 15, the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs released the result of an inventory carried out at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square in Cairo, which was looted on the 28th January. It revealed that 54 ancient Egyptian artefacts disappeared (download 731 KB) during the break-in (unfortunately, the illustrations of the missing objects are very bad). Thus, the loss is worse than intially thought.

Today it was revealed that the Antiquities police in co-operation with the Armed Forces could seize 12 of the exhibits last night. The thieves had spread videos and pictures of their loot to mobile phones in order to find a buyer and thereby attracted the attention of the authorities. Those set a trap with the help of a foreigner who works at the American Embassy in Cairo and made a bid of 50 million US Dollars for the artifacts. On "delivery", the perpetrators could be arrested and 7 wood statues, 5 bronze statues, 1 limestone statue, and 5 necklaces made of gold, faience and coloured glass could be seized.

Main hall of the Egyptian Museum in CairoMissed bronze fish Cat. no. JE22196Missed gilded wooden shabti Cat. no. JE68998

Egypt on the Move

One month has passed since the Egyptian president Husni Mubarak was forced to resign. While holidaymakers slowly return to Egypt, a lot of astonishing happens on the level of politics: The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces regularly meets with a group of youth representing the January 25 revolutionaries. Many of their demands have been fulfilled in a short time: The new government Prime Minister Essam Sharaf replaced ministers loyal to Mubarak (including Zahi Hawass) by others who are accepted by the pro-democracy movement; corrupt politicians are put on trial, peculated funds are confiscated; new parties are founded; the Egyptian people may soon vote on a new constitution which paves the way for new elections and limits the presidential term to a maximum of eight years. Also, creativity isn't missed: on Youtube, one can find thousands of hits with the keywords "Egyptian + revolution + song". 

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