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Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities reopened the southern tomb of King Djoser in Saqqara to tourists on Tuesday following 15 years of restoration works.

The tomb is divided into two parts, with the upper part being made of limestone and the lower one carved in rock at a depth of 31 meters (102 feet), decorated with rock carvings and blue faience.

“Today we are all celebrating by opening this southern tomb for the first time. We[‘re] talk about 31 meters [in] depth, by the end you can imagine that we will see one of the biggest and hugest granite sarcophagus,” explained Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

“It is not only one piece, in fact, the sarcophagus are 16 pieces of pink granite with a weight of 120 tons,” added Waziri.

The head of the restoration team, Mustafa Abdel-Fattah, noted that the renovation was marred by many difficulties, adding that “the tomb was exposed from the inside to biological damage, and it is one of the types of damage that caused the spreading of many black spots on the rock walls, which were treated.”

The 4,700-year-old tomb is considered one of the most famous monuments in Egypt.

SOT, Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General at Supreme Council of Antiquities: “Today we are all celebrating by opening this southern tomb for the first time. We[‘re] talk about 31 meters [in] depth, by the end you can imagine that we will see one of the biggest and hugest granite sarcophagus. It is not only one piece, in fact, the sarcophagus are 16 pieces of pink granite with a weight of 120 tons.”

SOT, Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General at Supreme Council of Antiquities: “Our conservators, they start[ed] lifting all the blocks 31 meters high with the weight of 120 tons, you can imagine how hard the work was. Sixteen years [of] conservation [and] restoration, [thus] revealing some of the debris down there and then fixing all the faience pieces to its own original places."

SOT, Mostafa Abdel-Fattah, Head of restoration team (Arabic): "The tomb was exposed from the inside to biological damage, and it is one of the types of damage that caused the spreading of many black spots on the rock walls, which were treated. We had faience tiles, 90 percent of the faience were falling off and stored in boxes, which were then returned to their original places.”

#Egypt #Djoser #Tomb #Saqqara

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