Replica of Nefertari’s tomb to be built in Luxor
Visitors walk in front of the Temple of Queen Nefertari, wife of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II - REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
By RANY MOSTAFA

CAIRO: The Supreme Council of Antiquities announced it will launch a project in October to build an exact, full size replica of Queen Nefertari’s tomb in the Valley of the Queens in Luxor’s west bank, governor of Luxor Major General Tarek Saad el-Din was quoted by Al-Shorouq Sunday.

The project aims to divert tourists away from the badly damaged original tomb while still providing them the chance to experience what the tomb looks like.

The project coincides with the 110th anniversary of the discovery of Nefertari’s tomb by Italian Egyptologist Ernesto Schiaparelli (1856–1928) in October 1904.

“The facsimile production of the tomb will record every tiny detail and dozens of square yards of inscriptions and depictions of scenes found in the original tomb,” Mohamed Shokry of the Egyptian Authority for Tourism Promotion told The Cairo Post Sunday.

Laser scanners and high definition printers will be used to recreate the precise scenes and colors of the walls of the tomb, said Shokry, adding that the project basically aims at saving the original tomb from being destroyed by visitors and climatic elements along with boosting tourism in the wake of the past few years’ political turmoil.

The project is funded by the Antiquities Ministry along with an Italian team of archaeologists, according to Aly el-Asfar, head of the ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Antiquities Ministry, in comments to The Cairo Post Sunday.

“Ministry of Antiquities has initially allocated 7 million EGP ($1million) to create an exact replica of Nefertari’s tomb,” el-Asfar said.

Archaeologists, who have been examining Nefertari’s tomb, have warned of an elevated level of carbon dioxide and humidity produced by the tomb’s visitors, along with salt deposits that damaged the tombs’ wall paintings, el-Asfar said.

He added that the change of temperature and humidity levels inside the tomb along with bacteria and moisture from tomb visitors breathing and the heat emerging from their bodies would harm the tomb on the long run.

Magdy Mohsen, a local tour guide working in Luxor said that the tomb has been closed to the general public since 2007 but still visited by visitors carrying special permission.

I have been inside the tomb of Nefertari as well as many other tombs all over Egypt several times and I would say it is the best preserved and the most spectacular one.

“Every time I visit the tomb, I am-just like my guests-excited. At the end of the 10- minute visit, my guests, fascinated with its bright colors, say it must have been finished and painted yesterday,” Mohsen said.

In April, the Antiquities Ministry inaugurated an exact replica of the tomb of King Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings aiming to protect the 3,300-year-old original tomb from deterioration caused by visiting tourists.

Nefertari, whose name means the “Beautiful of the two lands” was the greatest royal wife of Pharaoh Ramesses II who constructed a temple for her at Abu Simbel next to his colossal monument here.

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