Isn’t the era of colonial rule and the birth of Egyptology and early western tourism part of Luxor’s heritage?
Doesn’t the functioning of Luxor as a modern city– however poor and Muslim, rather than royal and ancient– deserve some respect? Or at least more sensitive treatment than “planned” reshaping and population removal?
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From Reuters UK:
By Alexander Dziadosz
LUXOR, Egypt (Reuters) – In the dusty streets behind the pasha’s grand villa, bulldozers and forklifts are tearing into the city where Agatha Christie found inspiration and Howard Carter unearthed Tutankhamun.
Egypt has already cleared out Luxor’s old bazaar, demolished thousands of homes and dozens of Belle Epoque buildings in a push to transform the site of the ancient capital Thebes into a huge open-air museum.
Officials say the project will preserve temples and draw more tourists, but the work has outraged archaeologists and architects who say it has gutted Luxor’s more recent heritage.
“They basically want to tear the whole thing down,” said one foreigner who lives in Luxor part of the year, agreeing to speak only if his name was not used.
“They want it to be all asphalt and strip malls and shopping centres. That’s their idea of modern and progressive.”
He pointed to the destruction of the 19th-century house of French archaeologist Georges Legrain, demolished to make way for a plaza outside Karnak temple, and plans to knock down the 150-year-old Pasha Andraos villa on the Nile boardwalk.
While known mostly for temples and tombs, Luxor’s Victorian-era buildings and dusty alleyways have drawn Egyptologists, statesmen and writers for decades.
Samir Farag, a former Egyptian general who now heads the billion-dollar plan to reinvent Luxor, dismisses the criticism. Improvements to the city had reduced traffic and brought top-notch education and healthcare.
“Just a few people, maybe I removed their houses or something like that, they want to criticize,” Farag said this week in his wainscotted office of British military style.
“We just cleaned the houses, cleaned the streets. You’ll never find a clean city like Luxor now in Egypt”…
For complete story, click here.
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Spring Cleaning in the real Luxor begins…
For an on-the-spot report on the situation in December, click here.