News

Arab Regional Center for World Heritage Condemns Transfer of Sphinxes from Luxor to Tahrir

Arab Regional Center for World Heritage Condemns Transfer of Sphinxes from Luxor to Tahrir

Source: Flickr/ Jay Bergesen

Chair of the Arab Regional Center for World Heritage, Shaikha Mai bint Mohammad Al Khalifa, has condemned the transfer of antiquities from Luxor’s temple to be resettled in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

In a statement shared with local news outlet Cairo24, Al Khalifa’s said that “any amendment to a site of this importance must be preceded by consulting with the UNESCO World Heritage Center, submitting reports that evaluate the impact on the site itself, and other matters stipulated in the operational guidelines of the World Heritage Convention.”

As such, the chair also suggested for experts from the Center and Egypt to meet and find an alternative solution to the proposed plan.

At the end of December, a controversial decision was issued to move four ram sphinx statues from Luxor’s processional avenue, as well as an obelisk, to Tahrir Square. However, the decision was met with criticism from experts, MP Ahmed Idris and archeologists for the damage that might occur on the archeological remains.

Tahrir Square, with the Egyptian Museum on left, 1940s Cairo. ource: Wikipedia

“The sphinxes are made of sandstone, they are part of the dry environment in Luxor, when they would be moved to Tahrir Square with all the pollution, they will deteriorate as a result of the reactions with the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in the air,” Dr. Monica Hanna, a heritage expert, told The Associated Press.

Further criticism was on the fact that Tahrir Square played a vital role in the 2011 uprising where millions took to protesting against former president Mubarak. It is considered a public square, with a political connotation, and unfit as a ground for preserving antiquities openly.

In response, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany defended the decision, as per Al Ahram, noting that the four ram-headed sphinxes are not part of the landmark ones placed at the front of the temple, and adding that, “When we go to European capitals like Rome or Paris or London, we see that they use Egyptian obelisks in decorating their major tourist squares, so why do we not do the same?”

Vatican Obelisk at St. Peter’s Square. Photo course Flickr/ Argenberg

Al Khalifa, who is also President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, highlighted Egypt’s commitment to 1964 International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of monuments and Sites which is meant at preserving heritage worldwide, in her statement directed at Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

The charter’s article 7 clearly states “A monument is inseparable from the history to which it bears witness and from the setting in which it occurs. The moving of all or part of a monument cannot be allowed except where the safeguarding of that monument demands it or where it is justified by national or international interest of paramount importance.”

As such, the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH)’s position, channeled through Al Khalifa, is meant to preserve the integrity of this site and the implementation of the 1972 World Heritage Convention in Arab States region.

ARC-WH is a Category 2 Centre and non-profit organization under the auspices of UNESCO.

All of Thebes, the ancient Egyptian name for Luxor, was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979; this includes the temples of Karnak and Luxor as well as the Valley of the Kings and Queens.

Featured image courtesy of Flickr/ Archer

Victim of Mansoura Mass Assault Drops Charges
US Kills Top Iranian General in Iraq Drone Strike

Subscribe to our newsletter


News

More in News

Egypt Upholds Court Order to Ban Jewish Festival of 19th Century Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira

Egyptian StreetsSeptember 26, 2020

Public Prosecution Orders 3 Alleged Fairmont Rapists Detained Pending Investigation

Egyptian StreetsSeptember 26, 2020

Interpol Extradites Three Egyptians Implicated in ‘Fairmont Gang Rape’ from Lebanon to Egypt

Egyptian StreetsSeptember 24, 2020

PayTabs Egypt is Giving COVID-19 Impacted Small Businesses Free Access to Digital Payment Solutions

Egyptian StreetsSeptember 24, 2020

Egyptian Journalist Lina Attalah Named One of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People

Amina ZaineldineSeptember 23, 2020

Egypt Signs East Mediterranean Gas Forum Charter

Egyptian StreetsSeptember 22, 2020

14 Fully Intact and Sealed Coffins Discovered after 2,500 Years in Egypt’s Saqqara

Amina ZaineldineSeptember 21, 2020

Egyptian ‘TikTok’ Star Menna Abdel Aziz Released: Lawyers

Egyptian StreetsSeptember 18, 2020