Culture – Daily News Egypt Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Sun, 24 Mar 2019 10:30:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 AUC features Dame Minouche Shafik as acclaimed guest speaker at Nadia Younes’ annual Memorial Lecture Thu, 21 Mar 2019 18:42:26 +0000 Egyptian economy could be 60% larger if gender equality in labour market is achieved, says Shafik

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The American University in Cairo (AUC) celebrated on Wednesday the 16th memory of Nadia Younes at its Greek Campus. Younes was an Egyptian woman who spent her career of over 30 years working at the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO), occupying high-level positions in both, and died tragically during the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq in 2003. 

The acclaimed guest speaker at the event this year was the Egyptian leading economist, Dame Minouche Shafik, who is currently the director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Minouche delivered the Nadia Younes Memorial Lecture and tackled several economic issues in Egypt, including the nature of social mobility in the Egyptian society, the changing situation of the middle class, unemployment and its relation to the available public sector jobs, and gender equality in the labour market.

On the topic of less discrimination against women in the modern world and integrating more female elements into the local economy, Shafik said that the Egyptian economy could be 60% larger than its current size, if gender equality is achieved in the local market.

Former speakers at the Nadia Younes Memorial Lecture included Amr Moussa, Egypt’s former foreign minister; Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general; Michael Moller, the director-general of the UN office at Geneva, and Nabil El Araby, the former Egyptian Foreign Minister who was also present at this year’s celebration, among others. 

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Witness to War and Peace: Egypt, the October War, and Beyond: English memoir of Al-Sadat’s Cabinet Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:16:37 +0000 Aboul Gheit takes readers back in time to very critical moment, 5 October 1973, one day before war

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“This is not a story about my journey, this is a book about Anwar El-Sadat’s epic in heroism and wisdom,” said Egypt’s veteran politician Ahmed Aboul Gheit at the introduction of his translated English book, Witness to War and Peace: Egypt, the October War and Beyond, which is published by the American University in Cairo’s (AUC) Press. 

After years of the published Arabic version, which takes readers behind the scenes of Al-Sadat’s decision of the 1973 War, and the subsequent Camp David Accords, the AUC Press decided to give English readers a chance to dig into Egypt’s recent history which reshaped its status and played a significant role of where it currently stands on the international map.   

Aboul Gheit is a veteran diplomat. From a very young age, he worked in critical positions which allowed him to witness each and every political communication between Egypt and other foreign countries. A few years later, he was elected as the secretary general of the Arab League. He previously served as Egypt’s ambassador to Italy and as Egypt’s permanent representative to the UN. In 2004, he was appointed as Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs–a post he held until 2011.

In his memories, Aboul Gheit takes readers back in time to a very critical moment which starts on 5 October 1973, one day before the huge warfare, when he was working at the National Security Consultancy.

“This book is not just about chronicling the history by a member who personally witnessed all the negotiations’ details, read all the official documents exchanged between Egypt and the concerned countries, and furthermore took a part in writing them, it is more about honouring the figures involved during that era, who passed away before having the chance to document it,” Aboul Gheit said in his speech.

“This is not just a good book, it is an important book that tells the details of Al-Sadat’s decision of the war and the peace treaty afterwards,” said AUC’s President Francis J Ricciardone.

Speaking of the having the AUC Press publish the book, Ricciardone told Daily News Egypt that as a former colleague to Aboul Gheit, when they discussed the offer, it was met with warm welcomes from the AUC’s side in order to open a window for those who do not speak fluent Arabic to learn and know about Egypt’s history, especially regarding such a critical matter like the 1973 War and the peace treaty afterwards.

“I think for anyone around the world who deals with Egypt, whether scholars, businesspersons or even particularly diplomats who need to understand this country, they need to have access to authentic living Egyptian witnesses to Egyptian decision-making. [That includes] how Egypt sees the world, [views] modern history, and then explains this decision-making,” Ricciardone said.

The AUC president further explained that the reasons behind publishing the book in English by the AUC Press were that the 1967 period, until the 1973 War was a transformative era of war and peace in the history of the whole region that is described in “too little writings by Egyptians in English.”

“There are several memoirs in Arabic, but for most foreigners, to have it in English with really good translation makes really important information available,” he added. 

The book is divided into two main sections: a witness to the war, and a witness to the peace. Throughout these sections, the meetings’ details which were held by the high board of the armed forces are mentioned. It portrays an image which includes the reader, making him feel like one of the attendees.

“I am blessed with a very strong memory, I rarely forget anything. In this book, I mentioned 95% of the details which occurred at the time, while the one thing that kept me from sharing the other 5% is that they cannot be shared with the public,” Aboul Gheit declared.

Throughout the sections of the book, Aboul Gheit recalls Al-Sadat’s decision of the 1973 War, quite aware that Egypt’s army is not well-equipped, and as others clearly declared, “much weaker than the Israeli one.”

“He took the war decision in one meeting, while depicting the exact war steps, the Egyptian army could do nothing more. These steps included taking them over via a surprise element by destroying the Bar Lev Line, possessing the first attack against the enemy, waiting for their response, and immediately stopping the line of fire,” he added.

Aboul Gheit added that in his book, he portrays how the man of peace and war was quite aware of the steps of the war, and they were previously delineated in detail by the armed forces.

Despite the huge risk at the time, he asserted that if Al-Sadat had not taken that risk, Sinai would have been probably like the Golan Heights nowadays, adding that these actions included the peace treaty which was met with a mass wave of anger and accusations of betrayal and wasting the blood of Egyptian soldiers who died in the war.

“Forty years later, I still sometimes wonder if Al-Sadat had not done what he did-putting in mind everything that politically happened afterwards-it leads me to believe that Egypt would otherwise not have regained control over its lands,” Aboul Gheit explained.

Despite declaring that the US was with the Israeli side during the war, Aboul Gheit clearly stated that not a single word was changed from the book while being translated from the Arabic version into the English one.

The book is the start of the AUC Press’ publishing series of Aboul Gheit’s memoirs. He announced in his speech that his second book, Shahadty (My Testimony) is to also become published in English by the end of this year. Throughout his second book, he will recall his journey as Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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Tyson starts shooting Egyptian film, co-starring Amr Saad Tue, 19 Mar 2019 13:30:39 +0000 Heavyweight boxer was accompanied by film crew on his tour to Giza Plateau

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Impromptu moments of him riding a camel while roaming the pyramids holding his wife Kiki close by, with the sphinx’s giant bricks in the background–these were some of the pictures which introduced legendary Mike Tyson’s trip to Cairo.

The famous boxer landed in Egypt earlier this week, but it was not until Sunday night when the pictures were published announcing his arrival. 

Tyson came to participate in the Egyptian film ‘Hamlet Pharon’ (A Pharaoh’s Campaign), produced by Mohamed El Sobky, in which he will co-star alongside Amr Saad, and the young radiant female actress Ruby.

Shooting is scheduled to start on Tuesday. The film is written by Karim Hassan Bashir, and will be directed by Raouf Abd El Aziz.

‘Hamlet Pharon’ tells the story of Yehia (Amr Saad) who owns the largest, and most widespread assassins’ network in Egypt. Known as ‘Pharon’ (The Pharaoh), Yehia finds himself stuck in a long journey from Egypt to Syria in order to free his lover.

Tyson, 52, is a former professional boxer who competed from 1985 to 2005. He joined the international records when he won the record of the youngest boxer to hold the title of a heavyweight at 20-years-old.

Nicknamed ‘The Iron Man’, Tyson took part in a total of 58 fights in his professional career. Fifty of those he won, 44 being by knockout. In the fights he did not win, he officially lost six, and two fell into the category of no contest.

The heavyweight boxer was accompanied by some of the film crew on his tour to the Giza Plateau which was the first outing he started his short visit in Egypt with.

The film’s shooting period was not clearly announced. The film witnesses Tyson’s first participation ever in an Egyptian film. He also participated in few Hollywood films, including The Hangover, (2009), Ip Man 3, (2015,) and The Hangover Part II, (2011).

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Eighth D-CAF Festival to colour greyness of Cairo’s streets Tue, 19 Mar 2019 13:00:41 +0000 Cultural festival will present first fully Egyptian street dance performance

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For eight years in a row, the Downtown Contemporary Art Festival (D-CAF) is about to rock Egypt with its one-of-a-kind performances, bringing joy, fascination, and excitement from their homelands to their passionate followers in Egypt. 

With extreme selection of the performing troupes and individuals, D-CAF comes every year to present alternative theatrical productions, revolutionising the art scene with the performers’ work. This year’s edition runs from 29 March until 21 April.

Troupes from Hungary, Germany, France, the UK, and Egypt will come to take part in the international art festival with 10 performances spread over the days of the festival.

The programme will start with a sand and paint animation show by Quartzbox, with its members Daniel Cako and Aron Hidvegi from Hungary. The show will be presented at Maq’ad of Sultan Qaitbey, according to a press release published by D-CAF.

As for Danish art, it is presented through Dust, a play which won the Danish Art Council’s award in 2016. It combines adult puppetry design, performance, opera, and other genres.

France will fly over the borders to participate with the Assembly of Dreams, a performance by Duncan Ivennou, which will be presented on Rawabet Theatre from 3-4 April.

Egypt will have a surprising and a breathtaking participation through a street dance performance, which will take place at El-Sharefein street by contemporary dancer Shaymaa Shoukry. The dance is planned to take part on 12 April. Noteworthy, this is the first Egyptian dance show to be performed by people with disabilities.

This will be the first “100% Egyptian [performance],” Ahmed ElAttar, D-CAF’s artistic director, stated in the press release, explaining that “Usually, the shows which include people with disabilities used to be choreographed by foreign coaches, but this time, all the participants are Egyptian.”

The Egyptian participation continues with Without Damage, an interactive dance performance by Mohamed Fouad, who took part at the festival twice, with this being the second year in a row.

Without Damage is an interactive play, where the audience are asked to join the stage at various points of the play. Daily News Egypt attended one of its shows last year, wondering how the Egyptian audience would receive such an art which they are not used to–or even anything close to it. Surprisingly, it was received incredibly well, with attendees participating in the different parts of the show and some of the audience lined up to watch Without Damage on its second day, which was sold out, so people waited for the break to see if someone would leave so they could join.

For dance lovers, another remarkable experience with Dancer Casa by Mourad Merzouki and Kader Atto, who was appointed as ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur’ (Knight of the French Legion of Honour) in 2015.

The dancing piece conveys the burning desire of its young dancers. Featuring captivating music and breathtaking choreographies, the performance captures every aspect of humanity, with its contradictions and complexities, through an infectious and an overwhelming lust for life. The vital energy delivered to the audience is the intense emotion of Moroccan youth. Dancer Casa will be performed at the Falaki Theatre, according to the press release.

Crazy but True is another interactive installation performance by the Bessie-award winners, Ant Hampton, which will be performed at the Tamara Building. Attar noted that this performance is “a very unique experience for an interactive performance as it does not take place in a traditional setting and it features local children talking to an adult audience in total flexibility where the audience moves freely.”

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Egyptian Museum celebrates women’s month by displaying two rare statues Tue, 19 Mar 2019 12:30:07 +0000 Statues depict Shepenwepet II, daughter of King Piye, who was called ‘God's wife of Amun’

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The start of the week marks two newly showcased artefacts at the currently most visited antiquities hub–Tahrir’s Egyptian Museum. This week’s displayed relics celebrate women’s empowerment month through the statues of Shepenwepet II, a high ranked female from the 25th Dynasty.

The statues, depicting Shepenwepet II, are displayed as a part of the Minister of Antiquities’, Khaled Anany’s plan to feature two of the major relics stored at the museum on a weekly basis. This comes after the transfer of a large number of antiquities into the Grand Egyptian Museum.

Shepenwepet II was the daughter of King Piye. She was called ‘God’s wife of Amun,’ which was a high position during the late period, according to a press release published by the ministry of antiquities on Sunday.

The daughter of the king, who lived from 743-712 BC, is currently being showcased at the entrance of the museum for a week.

The first statue was found in the mortuary temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu in Luxor. The gilded schist statue presents the lady Shepenwepet II standing proudly. Meanwhile the second statue is a basalt forepart of a sphinx of Shepenwepet II holding a ram-headed vase. It was found in a Karnak cachette and excavated by Georges Legrain for the Egyptian Antiquities Service in 1904.

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Paris dresses up for ancient Egypt’s young king Mon, 18 Mar 2019 14:00:42 +0000 After 50 years of absence, Tutankhamen’s belongings revisit Paris in exhibition on 21 March

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While the world is finalising the preparations for Mother’s Day, Paris is busy with preparing for another long-awaited event: the inauguration of Tutankhamun’s temporary exhibition that will showcase dozens of the young king’s belongings, which will take place at the Grande Halle de La Villette.

After 50 years of absence, since the last time the exhibition was held at the city, the charming centre of art, beauty, and fashion, is covered up with Egyptian civilisation banners, pictures of the king’s golden masks, and posters of the soon-to-be showcased belongings that captured people’s minds and souls. Meanwhile, as one of the most beloved pharaohs abroad, he took over the front page of most of the city’s most read publications.

The exhibition, named King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, is to open its doors on 21 March, showcasing “150 fascinating original objects found in 1922 in the tomb of the most famous pharaohs, the majority of which have never left Egypt before,” according to the Paris official website of the convention and visitors bureau.

So far, the museum announced the pre-selling of 130,000 tickets for the public, who are welcomed to visit the exhibition from 23 March. Pre-selling large numbers of tickets is not something unusual for the exhibition. In fact, it is what has become expected after the Golden Pharaoh’s journey in several countries.

Tutankhamun’s previous stop was in Los Angeles, California. In the United States, all 3,500 tickets of the exhibition were sold out before the official opening and nearly 100,000 tickets were issued and sold out during the opening weekend, which led the California Science Centre to extend its opening time for three additional hours after official working hours, as regulations forbid hosting over 100 persons inside the museum at a time.

Egypt is supporting this exhibition with 50 artefacts that will leave the country for the first time to follow their peers in order to join the list of displayed items. The displayed items include the world’s most famous gold mask, the gilded wooden bed-which was fashioned especially for his funeral with carved lion feet- golden coffins, and 3D models the museum prepared to take visitors through time and place within the glories of the Egyptian civilisation.    

The last time the exhibition was inaugurated in France was in 1967, where 1.2 million visitors expressed their interest in exploring the history of the young king, according to the museum’s official website, while the former Egyptian minister of antiquities stated that the number of visitors reached 1.5 million, according to state-owned Al-Ahram Online.

King Tutankhamun’s showcased belongings were originally transferred from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The relics include alabaster pots, wooden boxes, and statues of the pharaoh.

The exhibition will last until 15 September 2019, before it starts another journey including six other countries: Australia, and South Korea, where it is to be on display in 10 cities. The tour will last until the end of 2022. After the tour finds an end, the relics are to return back to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), where they will join the rest of the 5,000 relics found at the king’s burial chamber in 1922.

The GEM’s director previously told Daily News Egypt that 4,500 of Tutankhamen’s antiquities were successfully transferred to the museum, and the rest will soon join them after the official inauguration, stating that the overseas monuments are to return home where their display spots are saved and numbered.

The temporary exhibition witnessed a huge success in the US. Local media previously reported that it attracted more than 500 million visitors since it opened in March. 

The increase in the temporary exhibitions abroad is an effort on the part of the Minister of Antiquities, Khaled Anany, to revive tourism in Egypt, and create a source of income for the ministry.

Local media reported that the ministry’s income from the past LA exhibition reached $5m, with $4 going to the ministry on every ticket sold.

Anany explained the reason behind choosing Tutankhamen’s belongings to tour across Europe is that people have a love story with the young pharaoh.

The first exhibition showcasing Egyptian artefacts in a foreign country, as part of the minster’s new policy, kicked off in Toronto, Canada, last year, and displayed the heritage and monuments of the Egyptian Fatimid era. The ministry also highlighted other Egyptian eras through foreign exhibitions. After the first exhibition, another demonstrated the artefacts of the cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus – which were accidentally discovered under water after being lost for 1,000 years – whereas a third exhibition will soon be inaugurated for jewellery from ancient Egyptian eras.

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Four decades of portraying women’s faces Sun, 17 Mar 2019 10:00:49 +0000 Helmi El-Touni’s lifetime exhibition features beauty of women across his career

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With paintings featuring peaceful eyes, direct gazes that penetrate into one’s soul and capture hearts, and warm smiles from the mesmerizing portrayed ladies, people are welcomed into the latest Egyptian visual art exhibition of Helmi El-Touni.

Inside Zamalek’s Picasso Art Gallery, the veteran artist held his exhibition, Lel Nesaa’ Wojooh, (Women have Faces) which reflects his four-decade journey in portraying women, with his several ideologies adopted throughout his life, presented in the displayed artwork.

El-Touni is one of the pioneers of the visual art schools that features only women. When he started his journey about forty years ago, he found himself only presenting women in his work. With a very limited number of men introduced in his oodles portraits, they are always portrayed in a mocked-off form.

“Ever since I started my journey in painting, I found myself attracted toward presenting women in my work. They are always aggrieved, treated as a minority when it comes to rights even if they technically half of the society,” El-Touni told Daily News Egypt.

For a person who always stood for the rights of the minorities and those whose rights are always lost, he could not find himself featuring anything but the beauty of women in his work.

“Women fight for their basic rights in society, and as a folk artist, I find myself incapable of not supporting them by featuring their beauty,” he commented.

El-Touni further explained that he presents his own aspect of featuring the motherland through portraying the simplicity of a rural-area female.

“Home is identified in the rights these simple women have in their lives, and through featuring them, I capture the life of Egypt in a simple, beautiful way,” he pointed out.

In his exhibition, El-Touni chronicles his perspective of women throughout his lifetime’s artwork.

In forty portraits, in which he drew after digging deep into his soul to mirror his constantly changing perspective towards them, El-Touni spent the last few months reviving these different implementations of women in his paintings.

Each of the paintings presented the way El-Touni saw women and featured them over the years, which was the reason behind choosing the name, “Women have Faces”.

The prominent artist said that in this exhibition, he wanted to showcase how one artist can exhibit women in various characteristics, features, and looks as years pass by. He spent the last year remembering how in every part of his life, he used to depict the beauty of women, and reproduce similar work of that period’s ideology.

He further explained that Women have Faces proves that one artist can differently portray women in a totally different way over several years.

“At a younger age, when I started my career as an artist, I always drew women with eastern features. It’s what we were always subjected to back in college years, and how we were taught, and how we subconsciously adopted. But after a few years, I realised that I am following the path of millions of other artists, who walked the exact same road,” El-Touni said, explaining, “that is when I started looking for my own identity, as an Egyptian artist!”

For years, the veteran artist has been digging into the history of Egyptian civilisation in order to find his own style, which he eventually reached after years of intense research.

“I found that being a folklore artist is what evokes art inside me,” El-Touni stated.

Reading about the pharaonic civilisation, the Mamluks, the Islamic conquest, and Coptic art led El-Touni to believe that eastern beauty can be captured in folkloric scenes.

In most of his paintings, El-Touni presents the heritage side of women in rural areas, or from early ages, like featuring a woman dancing in a traditional cultural wedding, or women wearing the traditional Egyptian burqa, enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions.

Women are constantly captured with calm gazes, covering their face with peaceful looks and angelic smiles. Despite chronicling periods which witnessed women’s liberation, the females in El-Touni’s work never reflected rebellious looks or fierce features, “because strength has nothing to do with anger. Women are beautiful in all ways and looks.”

Despite featuring women in different eras, El-Touni stated that his pharaonic depiction is the least to be liked and demanded from people.

“Surprisingly, people are the furthest nowadays from their ancient Egyptian civilisation. They are turned off to those themed portraits which are the least from all of my paintings compared to modern history and civilised heritage,” El-Touni added.

When asked about his most inspiring era, the veteran artist confidently said it was the Coptic period in the 7th century.

“It’s the time in which art galvanises me the most. It’s one of the eras in which Egypt witnessed the largest boom in the fields of carvings and arabesque patterns, which is one of the things that had a huge impact on me and can clearly be sensed in my artwork,” he explained.

Furthermore, he stated that other eras’ impact is not as strong as the Coptic’s on his work.

El-Touni’s portraits are unique, vibrant, and colourful, despite the peaceful looks always featured in his drawn women.

“Amid all the darkness, phases of loss, and turmoil we are living in, art is made to make people feel better, and takes them out of their reality. That is what I aim to deliver with my strong, bright colours. The beauty of art is that it makes the chaos of the world less chaotic,” he asserted.

As for the contrasting colours always applied in his portraits, he explained that they strengthen the message sent from his work.

Cheer and beauty are the exhibition’s main theme, which is open to the public until 21 March. For these feelings, El-Touni said he keeps working.

“I enjoy my work, so as to let people find the joy in it!” he concluded.

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15th Alexandria International Book Fair kicks off on 25 March Wed, 13 Mar 2019 18:57:32 +0000 Book fair will host more than 50 publishing houses from across country

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The Bibliotheca Alexandrina announced on Wednesday the inauguration of the 15th Alexandria International Book Fair from 25 March 25 – 7 April.

The Director of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Mustafa el-Feky, stated in a press release that the book fair will host more than 50 publishing houses from across the country.

El-Feky stated that the book fair will host extensions for four Arab countries, including Kuwait, the UAE, Syria, and Palestine.

The fair will also host sections for several governmental institutions, including the ministry of antiquities, the National Council for Mental Health, and the National Centre for Translation.

Moreover, El-Feky added that the fair will create a platform of several cultural activities for all family members.

“It will be more of a cultural festival for literature lovers, not only in Alexandria in particular, but also Egypt and the Middle East,” he stated, according to state owned media newspaper, Al-Ahram.

The cultural programme contains 14 workshops for children throughout the fair days, including telling stories, painting, and writing workshops.

As for the seminars, the fair will organise a special lecture presented by former Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosni.

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Hawas presents booklet of Tutankhamun’s GEM displayed relics Tue, 12 Mar 2019 17:02:15 +0000 The GEM is planned to have the whole collection of Tutankhamun’s monuments

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In preparation for the Grand Egyptian Museum’s (GEM) huge opening, planned to take place next year, Zahi Hawas handed the Minister of Antiquities, Khaled Anany, the catalogue of Tutankhamun’s hall, which contain the details of the 5,000 showcased relics belonging to the young king.

Hawas met with the minister and Atef Meftah, the general director of GEM on Tuesday to give them the booklet he has been working on for six months, according to a press release published by the ministry of antiquities.

Hawas had presented the booklet as a personal gift to the project he started when he was the minister of antiquities back in 2002.

The GEM is planned to have the whole collection of Tutankhamun’s monuments which were discovered in his burial chamber in 1912 and were never displayed before.

Furthermore, Hawas also discussed during the meeting the details of the opening ceremony opera, which is planned to be about the life of the young king.

The renowned Egyptologist was the one who wrote the play ‘Tutankhamun’ which depicts the life of Tutankhamun as the younger pharaoh and king to rule Egypt, focusing on the dramatic events that changed his life from an early age until his death.

For over a year, the ministry of antiquities has been transferring the king’s belongings from museums all over Egypt preparing for the GEM’s opening. So far, nearly 4,500 monuments of the total collection have been safely transferred into the GEM’s restoration labs and have already received treatment.

The opera, according to a previous statement by Hawas, recites the historical timeline of the young pharaoh, since he was a little child who was born and raised by his step-mother Nefertiti. It also tells the story of Nefertiti, the jealous step-mother who does not want Tutankhamun to rule after his father, to the extent of requesting one of Egypt’s enemies to kill him.

Hawas added in his statement that the king is not the only star of the play, as it highlights the roles of Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Horemheb, and Ay, along with other important figures who helped shape history as we currently know it.

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Ministry of Antiquities revamps worn archaeological sites Tue, 12 Mar 2019 11:00:22 +0000 Restoration part of ministry’s latest plan to renovate abandoned archaeological sites

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While the Ministry of Antiquities keeps astonishing the world with new discoveries that indicate that the legacy of the Egyptian civilization is far from ending, it also keeps on heavily revamping the archaeological sites and restoring them in an attempt to re-attract tourism.

Since the start of the new year, the ministry announced three main renovation projects:  Philae temple in Aswan, the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, and the New Valley museum, as well as a big number of other historical sites.

The restoration is part of the ministry’s latest plan in renovating abandoned archaeological sites, seeking to direct more attention toward them.

When it comes to Aswan’s most captivating temple, Philae, the restoration project included providing it with several required services. The main added service for tourists was having large air-conditioned gates with the space of 4×8 metres. Six kiosks for resting are also in the process of being built for tourists to charge their phones and get a chance to have a break from touring the place.

The ministry is working on organising tourists’ visits through 15 alleys and directional signs for visitors to follow and pass by every place in the area, in addition to signs written in different languages to properly introduce the temple to visitors.

Waad Allah Abu El-Ella, the head of the Projects Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, said earlier this week in a press release that the development works also included removing of all the unpleasant grass, as well as upgrading the entrance gate and the dock overlooking the Nile. Informative signboards have been also installed in several locations in the archaeological site.

He added that repairing and upgrading the bathrooms in the site, installing modern security systems connected with a control room were also provided onsite.

For his part, Abdel Monaem Saeed, the head of Aswan Antiquities, further explained that the ministry has completed the conservation and cleaning of the temple’s walls and columns and removed all bird spots.

The restoration is supported by the National Bank of Egypt within the signed protocol between both the bank and the ministry to implement services as a part of renovating archaeological sites, as well as the UNESCO.

Within the same geographical frame, the ministry announced on Monday completing the restoration of the Dendera Temple complex in Qena, which resulted turning it into an open museum.

The project was established with the help of the French mission working in the area, to showcase the 145 stored relics. Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, stated that the Roman-Greek monuments date back to both the Old and New Kingdom.

The museum is planned to be opened in two phases; the first was announced to be launched. The ministry stated that the second phase will include a giant pink granite tomb, with carvings of Roman inscriptions, mainly the lotus flower, and depicting king Thutmose III.

As for the New Valley museum, it has been renovated to include a permanent exhibition among its displayed items.

The new permanent exhibition includes showcasing the belongings of the Dabasheya cemetery, which was discovered a couple of decades ago.

The restoration included setting a place for the new exhibition and renovating unearthed relics. The antiquities on display belong to a person called ‘Mes Wy’ who was one of the nobles in the Greek-Roman era. The cemetery was unearthed in 1994. Seventeen of the burial belongings were restored and are currently showcased at the museum. Among the displayed monuments are statues for Osiris, and a mummy of the tomb’s owner.

The restoration included making a miniature of the burial chamber in which the relics were found.

Earlier last week, the ministry announced a close follow-up to the Graeco-Roman museum’s restoration process.

The renovation started in 2018 and it is planned to be finalised by this year.

Hisham Samir, the minister of antiquities’ adviser for projects, told the state-run media outlet, Al-Ahram Online, that the restoration is almost half way through.

So far, 48% of the work has been completed. This includes the restoration of the western and eastern façades, the inner walls and 90% of the building’s metal frame, as well as the consolidation of the museum’s ground floor, the exhibition halls and the administrative building,” Samir said, according to Al-Ahram online.

The museum is planned to have 30 galleries in order to showcase the currently restored relics, which are more than 20,000 artefacts.

While the ministry follows-up with improving the archaeological sites, it constantly announces the success of its restoration plans. 

The ministry also announced earlier last week, the complete restoration of Kom El-Shoqafa archaeological site in Alexandria, which included lowering underground water that was threatening the relics in the tombs.

The restoration was conducted with the help of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Authority for Potable Water and Sewerage. The USAID granted the renovation a total of $5.7m in order to facilitate the process and shorten its required time.

The site is also planned to be reopened as an open museum. It will be divided into four sections. The first will be dedicated to funeral architecture and is planned to contain 34 tombs with detailed signs revealing the description and era of each of them. While the second part of the museum will be dedicated to religious architecture where several statues are to be displayed including those of sphinx figures.

The third part will display civil architecture, specifically the remains of unearthed structures including building columns. The fourth extension will be dedicated to artefacts the committee expects to be discovered throughout the restoration process.

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Second stage of 240 km El Gouna Rally launched on Friday in heart of Eastern Desert Mon, 11 Mar 2019 15:00:31 +0000 Rahhala Racing, the winner of the El Gouna Rally for the last five years, won first place in the first phase of the eighth edition of the El Gouna Rally on Friday, led by Hani Omar as the pilot, and Co-Pilot Hany Madbouly, despite the team’s start in a very late position. While HammerHead Racing …

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Rahhala Racing, the winner of the El Gouna Rally for the last five years, won first place in the first phase of the eighth edition of the El Gouna Rally on Friday, led by Hani Omar as the pilot, and Co-Pilot Hany Madbouly, despite the team’s start in a very late position.

While HammerHead Racing came in second, led by Sherif Abdel Azim and Co-Pilot Ahmed El-Mehi. The third place was secured by Trax, led by Khalid Sobhi and Hady Makhlouf.

Early Saturday morning, the teams started from El Gouna to the starting line of the second phase, which will extend 240 km in the heart of the Eastern Desert, and will take about 4 hours.

Tamer Bashir, the Sahara Racing Team’s main driver, said the first round of the El Gouna Rally was tough, as the team tried to preserve the cars to withstand the second round, the largest and most difficult 240 km.

He also stressed that the team developed a strategy to protect each other’s team cars during the second phase, as cars were launched behind each other to maintain the safety of all team members and assist each one of them in case of emergency.

The captain of the TMT team, Mohamed Al-Entebli, explained that the team had achieved very good timing in the first stage.

Mohammed Al-Gayyar, the team’s co-pilot, confirmed that they had made great tours and praised the performance of Al-Entebli.

Noteworthy, this is the first rally to be played by captain Al-Entebli after a break from the rally world for 6 years.

El Gouna Rally will witness the participation of the 4×4 Challenge, which was introduced for the first time in Egypt at Sahl Hashish Rally in 2017.

The rally is supported by the Red Sea governorate, the ministries of defence, interior, tourism, environment, and the Automobile and Touring Club of Egypt, according to Rally Egypt’s official Facebook page.

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Art exhibition reviving Darwish’s music through rare revolution pictures Mon, 11 Mar 2019 14:30:50 +0000 The AUC’s 1919 Revolution’s celebration also witnessed an art exhibition, held by the graphic design students who presented their vision of the revolution and Sayed Darwish’s songs in modern and digitised photographs taken for the marches which were saved among the authentic documents at the Rare Books and Special Collection Library. The students were assigned …

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The AUC’s 1919 Revolution’s celebration also witnessed an art exhibition, held by the graphic design students who presented their vision of the revolution and Sayed Darwish’s songs in modern and digitised photographs taken for the marches which were saved among the authentic documents at the Rare Books and Special Collection Library.

The students were assigned to listen to Darwish’s 23 main songs which featured the social conditions, to present a different angle on each of them.

Mariam Ismail, a senior graphic design student, portrayed Darwish’s women empowering song Aho Da Elly Sar “This is What has come to be”, through a picture of women’s protests supporting Saad Zaghloul.

Through the black and while picture, visually effected by the warm colours of the sun, Ismail portrayed how the veteran artist’s song played a huge role in depicting women’s liberation during the era.    

“Listening to the songs of Sayed Darwish and looking at the archived pictures, I could not help but notice that hope was the only thing that kept Egyptians going in such a chaotic and hard time. So that is what I wanted to focus on with my art,” Ismail told Daily News Egypt.

With the use of warm bright colours, Ismail highlighted the hopeful words of Darwish’s songs in her featured photographs.

“Darwish’s songs had lyrics which revoked hope, even if they have nothing to do with the theme of the song, so that is what I wanted to highlight.” she asserted.     

Each of the students worked for half a semester to bring out 23 artworks for each song, in order to include each song’s tackled angle in the exhibition.

Naglaa Samir, the AUC’s associate professor of practice at the Department of the Arts, stated that she never believed that she will have to choose a number from the 230 artworks which she was handed.

“The moment I saw them, I came to decide that we must showcase such creative work at an exhibition,” she said, adding, “each of the students tackled the heritage from a different angle, to finally launch an exhibition tackling almost all aspects of the 1919 Revolution.”

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In a crowded Eurovision field, standouts emerge Mon, 11 Mar 2019 14:07:00 +0000 The post In a crowded Eurovision field, standouts emerge appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

This past weekend saw the last of the national finals, so now all of the contestants for the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv are known. Some are already making waves. Here’s our rundown.The host country announced last: representing Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is Kobi Marimi (top photo), with a ballad named "Home." The contrast to last year's quirky entry by Israeli winner Netta couldn't be greater.

The evening before saw the climax of Sweden's elaborate selection process, the Melodifestivalen. Coming out on top: 36-year-old John Lundvik. The recipe for his song, "Too Late For Love," is rather similar to that cooked up by Austria's wildly successful entry last year: sexy singer, powerpop ballad and gospel backup chorus. Lundvik is also in the songwriter team for Great Britain's entry, Michael Rice. The 21-year-old YouTube star sings about youth mobbing.

A pattern emerges: Ballads warbled by attractive young men are actually quite frequent this year in entries from both eastern and western Europe. But be they delivered by male or female artists, such ditties frequently emerge in the same cookie-cutter pattern, starting slowly and releasing pent-up tension in the refrain.

Songs with promise

The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest isn't likely to go down in history for musical surprises, but some entries have been drawing attention.

The Netherlands, for instance: 24-year-old Duncan Laurence, a not very well known artist, has been delighting both female and male fans with his gentle ballad "Arcade." With Luca Hänni, Switzerland is sending a similar act to Tel Aviv.

Italy's entry, Mahmoud, targeted for not very friendly remarks on social media by his country's minister of the interior, sings "Soldi," a song in Italian that includes lines of text in Arabic. The singer's style of delivery is very Italian however, and the refrain quickly nestles into memory. All bets are on him doing well.

Bilal Hassani has also had to face hostility in his homeland, France. Of Moroccan descent, he makes no bones about his homosexuality, and "Roi" (King) is his triumphant statement of self-affirmation.

Lake Malawi's "Friend of a Friend" is a flawless, happy soul pop number that sounds as though it's been freshly excavated from the 80s. As last year, the Czech Republic is contributing a fresh face, fun music and dance.

The standouts

Reminiscent of arias by the Queen of the Night in Mozart's "The Magic Flute," the song "Zero Gravity" from Australia already has a following, even though it challenges the listener with a variety of tempos and styles. In presentations of the song thus far, singer Kate Miller-Heidke has been seen perched atop a mountain of a dress, an attire so unusual that it's hard to find words for a proper description.

Poland's entry, "Pali sie," by a female quartet named Tulia, is three minutes of shrill screaming. The song material is intrinsically Polish, a genre sometimes called "white song," and the piece is an interesting composition and arrangement, but the voices take some getting used to.

And what's coming from Portugal? His name is Conan Osiris, he's 30 years old, and his song is a fusion of fado, techno and Arab influences with elements of modern dance added for good measure. In fact, to describe this sound collage it would be easier to list what elements it lacks. "Telemoveis" (Cell Phone) is a courageous and inventive number that leaves the listener awash and adrift in multitonalities for the first minute, while in the video, the eye is occupied by the singer and a male dancer in their white feathered garb. Whether the worldwide television audience at the finale on May 18 is enthused or aghast remains to be seen.

Several countries this year considered boycotting the song contest out of protest of Israeli policies; Iceland was among them. Ultimately selected for the competition, the band Hatari is offering "Hatrid mun sigra" (Hate Will Sin), a headbanging number critical not of Israel but of capitalism, with the band and dancers in black leather and plenty of spikes and studs. The band already challenged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanjahu to a duel but will now have to hold back on political statements so as not to be disqualified.

Read more: Israeli pop queen Netta says Eurovision about music, not politics

No tear machines required

Spain is sending a happy merengue uptempo number which probably doesn't stand much of a chance but is refreshing to the ear nonetheless. As is Latvia's entry, "That Night" by Carousel, a wonderfully poised, gentle acoustic pop song that soothes the spirit in a field of many overproduced ESC songs.

Denmark's dreams of triumph are placed in a pop song delivered by a saucy woman's voice that sounds quite a lot like any female pop singer with a saucy voice sound at the moment. Sung in English and French with lines of text in German and Danish thrown in for good measure, Leonora's "Love is Forever" is sugar-candied fare calculated to reach as many ESC fans as possible. And it probably will.

Finland is delegating Darude, one of its best known pop exports. In the late 1990s, the electro duo was the source of "Sandstorm," an unforgotten techno classic. They've aged however, so rather than some respectable noise, they are sending a dance number worthy of radio play in "Look Away."

As though in an effort to minimize risk, Norway is sending Keiino and "Spirit in the Sky," seemingly an amalgamation of every hackneyed Eurovision style and mannerism ever employed. That is a feat in itself.

Not a wisp of a chance

The tiny country of San Marino just won't give up. After competing at Eurovision in Stockholm in 2016, music business veteran Serhat is back, this time with a dance floor number named "Say Na na na," an entry so cheap that not even his charismatic voice can rescue it.

No one knows how Germany's S!sters will stand up to the competition. Betting agencies currently rank the duo in the lower third, but this long before the competition, such indications have little predictive value.

Point of contention

Ukraine had delighted fans with interesting acts at the national final level, and "Siren Song" by Maruv was a promising entry. In late February however, the country withdrew: Maruv was asked to sign a contract agreeing to henceforth never perform in Russia again. And once again, the ESC was fought over by enemy nations. Two years ago, Ukraine had blocked Russia's candidate from entering the country, leading Russia to cancel.

Finally, to Russia and to its superstar, Sergey Lazarev, who placed third at the ESC in Stockholm in 2016 with a breathtaking performance. Re-entering Lazarev in 2019, the Russian delegation kept his song under wraps until only very recently, thus maximizing expectations. And in fact, betting agencies have his song, "Scream," at the top of the list. Lazarev is comfortable in his two-octave vocal range, and at the very least, his song offers the right material for the requisite Eurovision wind machines.

In general, special effects will probably stage a comeback this year. After simplicity was the catchword in 2018 in Lisbon, look forward to more dazzle. Which will probably be needed to beef up all those warbling ballads.

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AUC brings 1919 Revolution’s art work back to life Mon, 11 Mar 2019 14:00:48 +0000 In two hours, Mahgoub, Eskenderella captured hearts of audience, took them back in time to revolution’s original songs

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When hundreds of thousands of Egyptians filled the streets a century ago demanding freedom from the English colonisation, they were not aware that each footstep they took on every street carved the history of Egypt’s recent history, through the country’s biggest and most effective revolution in 1919.

Commemorating the golden days, when marches were united under the umbrella of seeking freedom, the American University in Cairo (AUC) held a cultural celebration where the revolutionary artists’ and their work was revived.

The event, which was held on Saturday, witnessed a musical concert in which the prestigious university’s professors revived the songs of the revolution’s icon, Sayed Darwish, in their original forms and exactly how they were performed, and held a discussion panel in which the speakers talked about the details of the revolution. This came besides an art exhibition featuring the work of the AUC’s graphic design students in which they documented the 1919 Revolution through the visual effects they added on some of the rare pictures which are kept at the university’s Rare Books and Special Collection Library.

The celebration comes in light of the AUC’s centennial celebrations which started from early February.

“We have been preparing this project for 10 months. Art was the only tool that the occupation could not control or invade,” said Alaa Eldin Edris, the AUC’s associate provost for research, innovation and creativity.

Edris explained that focusing on bringing Sayed Dawrish’s songs back to life the way they were originally written and performed is the AUC’s way of reviving his legacy and depicting the main tool the masses fought the occupation with.

“At the time, British soldiers killed every person walking down the street who was calling the name of Saad Zaghloul [the revolution’s icon], but they could not shoot any of the people who were marching while singing Sayed Darwish’s songs, even the ones referring to him. We focused on art, as it was the Egyptians’ main tool of fighting the situation,” he added.

The concert was performed by Eskenderella with its lead singer Hazem Shaheen, and the AUC Ferqa with lead singer Nesma Mahgoub.

In two hours, Mahgoub and Eskenderella captured the audience’s hearts, and took them back in time to the previous centenary through some of Sayed Darwish’s most famous songs featuring the 1919 Revolution.

Darwish is a veteran artist, who is known to be the only art icon of the 1919 Revolution, and the one whose songs played a remarkable role in sparking the revolutionary anger inside Egyptians at the time.

“For six months, we have been digging to find the original notes of Darwish’s revolutionary songs, which were extremely hard to find due to rare written documentation of musicals at the time,” said Wael El Mahalawi, an associate professor at the AUC’s Department of the Arts.

El Mahalawi explained that the difficulty was in finding the songs’ original notes, and how they were originally performed without the additions and amendments that occurred over the years with every artist who performed the songs after.

“The way we listen to songs nowadays is much different that the way they were originally played. Documenting musical notes through writing them only started few years ago. Before that, it only relied on listening and practicing them. To find the notes of a song which was performed over 100 years ago, was impossible,” he added.

Searching at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and the Cairo Opera House, the team could only find the national songs through gramophone vinyls.

“We kept on listening to the 23 songs and writing the notes ourselves in order to perform them the exact way they were played with, before any amendments,” El Mahalawi pointed out.    

The project focused particularly on Sayed Darwish’s songs, because Darwish was the singer who chronicled the journey of the nation in every stage through his songs. 

Through her angelic voice, Mahgoub revived Shed El-Hezam (Buckle up), Oum Ya Masry (Egyptian, Rise), and Aho Da Elly Sar (This is what has come to be)

The event also witnessed a discussion in which Mohamed Abou El-Ghar, the professor of gynaecology at Cairo University and political activist recalled the memories of the revolution, and  Mostafa El Feki, the director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina discussed how it affected Egypt’s foreign  political scene, and  Sania Sharawi, novelist and the granddaughter of the feminist and women’s rights activist Huda Sharawi discussed  the impactful role of women at the 1919 revolution

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7th India by the Nile festival brings homeland’s cultural legacy to Egypt Wed, 06 Mar 2019 12:00:20 +0000 Egypt studying launching similar cultural festival, Egypt by the Ganges, by 2020

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Within few days, Egypt’s various governorates’ cultural hubs are to be filled with people coming from all sides and corners to attend the country’s biggest foreign cultural festival, India By the Nile in its seventh edition.

The cultural fiesta kicked off on Tuesday, running until 17 March. The festival presents diversified art forms, as it is organised by the embassy of India in Cairo, and the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture, in partnership with the Egyptian ministries of culture, and tourism, El Sawy Culture Wheel, and the Cairo Opera House, as well as Teamwork Arts, a pioneering entertainment company in India.

The festival writes a new chapter in the tale of India’s culture invasion into the Egyptian society, and the huge attraction it grabs through millions of loyal fans. Through musical performances, theatre plays, films, yoga, food, and workshops, the 7th India by the Nile is to shine at the sky of Egypt’s cultural scene in March.

The festival is brought to the people with the support of Teamwork Arts’ production, which supports the festival in boosting the performances to bring them to a higher level of professionalism and energy.

In its seventh edition, the festival lands on Egyptian land with alluring shows for the first time, including the Grammy Award-winning performance, Vikku Vinayakram, representing three generations of percussionists with the grandfather, the father, and the grandson all participating together in one show, thereby bringing wider aspects of different generations performing together.

In his first India by the Nile festival as India’s ambassador to Egypt, Rahul Kulshreshth stated that the cultural festival has been grabbing his attention ever since he was in New Delhi. “India by the Nile encapsulates India’s animated cultural matrix like no other international festival in Egypt. The festival has received immense appreciation from audiences in Egypt over the past seven years,” Kulshreshth said at the press conference which was held on Tuesday.

He added, “it is indeed due to the love for India, that is why India by the Nile is considered one of the biggest foreign cultural festivals in Egypt.”

In addition to Cairo, the festival runs in two other governorates, which are Alexandria and Port Said that will both witness the cultural performances at various venues in the governorates. 

“We are proud to present the 7th edition of India by the Nile and, as before, bring the vibrant, colourful, and diverse facets of India’s artistic traditions in celebration of the historical and civilizational bonds between our peoples. This year, the festival is going to be even wider in its grasp and activities!”  Kulshreshth added.

This year’s edition brings India’s Gilles Chuyen, a well-known Bollywood choreographer, who will provide a Bollywood dance experience through multiple workshops in Cairo and Alexandria.

It also brings a three-day film festival, catering to several age-groups, and will feature special screenings of popular Bollywood films. The festival will also organise workshops on the art and techniques of yoga, as well as the ancient science of Ayurveda and well-being.

A food fiesta will also be held for five days at the Intercontinental Cairo Semiramis. Moreover, the festival will commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary. This will be done through a puppet theatre which will bring Gandhi’s message on non-violence to Egypt, through the hands of Dadi Pudumjee’s Ishara’s non-verbal performance using puppets, which is titled Images of Truth.

The seventh edition sees the light under the direction of Sanjoy K Roy, the managing director of Teamwork Arts. Roy expressed his thrill over the event which will strengthen the ties between the two cultures.

“It is wonderful to bring India’s vast cultural medley back and communicate through the universal language of the arts, and we look toward the future as nothing but friendship and art last in posterity,’ Roy said at the press conference.

According to Joy, India by the Nile is one of 26 annual festivals which India holds in 41 countries, including Australia, and the US. The ministry of culture’s representative at the press conference said that Egypt is currently studying launching a similar cultural festival called Egypt by the Ganges, which is planned to be launched by 2020.

For her side, Ila Gupta, one of the festival’s organisers, stressed on the fact that the shared art which results from such festival is what really bring nations together, more than politics and formed economic ties.

“These are the connections that require no common language. It is a communication that needs nothing, but our senses to feel and become touched with,” Gupta told Daily News Egypt.

She added that Egyptians are more into watching musical shows performed at such festivals, justifying that the Indian dance art is one of the things which attract Egyptians the most.

“We make sure to bring to Egypt different dance genres every year, and various artists in order for Egyptians to explore all aspects of Indian culture,” she asserted, adding, “we aim to present India in all its different forms.”

Both Joy and Kulshreshth added that they are targeting to increase the number of art exhibitions of young Indian artists in Egypt. 

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Strategies to help bookstores survive reader atrophy Tue, 05 Mar 2019 15:36:00 +0000 The post Strategies to help bookstores survive reader atrophy appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Are traditional books and booksellers facing an existential crisis? How does one attract more readers? DW asked Alexander Skipis, the CEO of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, about the future of books.German book readers are spoiled. Order a book at your local bookstore, and expect it to be ready for pick-up the very next day. The insolvency of Koch, Neff & Volckmar (KNV), Germany's largest book distributor, however, may slow down that service for customers, and pose a problem for small publishing companies.

Along with copyright laws, the German Book Prize and fixed prices for books in Germany, the issue is just one of many faced by Alexander Skipis, the director of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association.

Deutsche Welle: With a turnover of roughly €10 billion ($11.4 billion) the German book industry is stronger than the music business, film industry, computers and video put together. Does the book trade face problems in Germany at all?

Alexander Skipis: Generally speaking, no, sales have in fact increased slightly over then past 14 years, even in the face of smart phones and other media competition, which is quite a feat by publishers, writers and booksellers. But the strong competition has left its mark. Studies show that we have lost a significant number of readers. That means that people who used to buy books are now turning away from them.

Fewer readers buy more books, so sales basically haven't dropped — isn't that reassuring?

No, it isn't, even if turnover increased a bit last year — distorting the perspective a bit — and that's due to the fact that books cost more.

That's why we launched a survey among people who stopped buying books. We found out that all of these people love books and love to read, but that they are often stressed because social media takes up their time and they don't manage to do anything else.

We should make people understand that they should take the time again to sit down with a book, let the book take them on a journey. I think we stand a chance to win those book buyers back.

The book cosmos is huge. Germany's biggest distributor, KNV, has just announced insolvency. But how do the books, CDs, DVDs and games created by more than 5,000 publishers find their way to the bookstores?

The same as before, insolvency doesn't mean business operations have folded. The bankruptcy administrator has a vested interest in continuing the company's business. He can guarantee that publishers who supply books will be paid back.

But it is not clear whether publishers will be paid for the books they supplied at the end of last year?

That's right. The fact that the invoices for the 2018 Christmas sales that are due round about now but can't be processed on account of the bankruptcy is a big problem, in particular for small and medium-sized publishing companies. For the time being, the publishers won't be paid for those past shipments. That can turn into a huge problem unless a solution is found.

Would that also have an effect on bookstores?

If many publishers were to disappear from the book market that would have a significant effect on bookstores, fewer books would be for sale. The German book market stands for quality and an enormous variety — the envy of people worldwide.

The number of bookstores in Germany is shrinking. What can booksellers do to ensure their survival?

That's a difficult question. Many are already tackling the problem on their own, but there are also things that are difficult for lone booksellers. City centers are becoming less and less attractive. The pedestrian traffic in shopping streets is diminishing. That's something affecting the entire retail sector. There's also the problem that rents in top locations are very expensive. Bookstores have a hard time paying high rents, because the returns are relatively low.

Do we maybe need more book cafes in the country?

Indeed we do. This is a good example of what bookstore owners themselves can do. Today it's not enough to stock your shelves with books, open the door and wait for people to come. You have to make an attractive offer, make it an experience, with spaces where people would gladly spend their time.

Are events, like poetry slams, swap-meets, or inviting storytellers and regional poets the kid of things that need to be looked at?

Exactly, but going even beyond that. Bookstores can also be venues for discussions or debates. You have to think about what attracts people.

Is there a growing threat from online sellers, like Amazon, shutting out the storefront retailers?

That competition has to be taken very seriously. It's hard to say if the threat is growing. Bookstores have one huge advantage: Normally you get the book you want straight away, not a couple of days later. And nearly every bookstore has an online shop as well.

The market for e-books grew massively in 2018, almost 13 percent. Is digitalization a danger for the stationary bookstore?

E-books aren't necessarily a threat to traditional booksellers. Of course it's relatively easy to download an e-book from the web, and even from the websites of bookstores. By buying from the site of a traditional store, you retain the customer service element; and that's a big plus over shopping purely online. It comes down to combining the advantages of the digital world with the advantages of shopping in a traditional store. That's an important thing for bookstores to do.

Are bookstores currently missing the big titles? Harry Potter or Elena Ferrante — do these books dramatically improve the bottom line? Or do people who buy books anyway steer away from the bestsellers and look for other titles?

The bestsellers definitely do boost turnover. But one can see an interesting development. Earlier, a title was called a bestseller if it sold 4, 5, or 600,000 copies. Nowadays, a book is a best-seller if 100,000 copies are sold. There aren't really so many titles that dominate the market in such a way any more. But we still need new best-sellers, to to push up turnover.

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In isthmus of road: exhibition featuring women’s alluring beauty Tue, 05 Mar 2019 12:00:59 +0000 For me, men only present physical power, cruelty in art, says artist

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A world of heart-capturing red head fairy tales mesmerising beautiful mermaids and exquisite “high breed females”, that’s how veteran artist Maryem Abdel Wahab featured women in her latest exhibition “In the isthmus of the road”.   

At downtown’s Lamasatt Art Gallery, Abdel Wahab welcomed people inside her colourful and bright world in the exhibition’s opening on Saturday, where she presents women in alluring beauty features.

“I’ve dedicated my years of painting into featuring women. They present all the beauty that can be captured in life. The way I see it, men only present physical power and cruelty in art. They cannot be featured in other ways, while women resemble unconditional love, care, femininity, and altruism, and many other feelings,” Abdel Wahab told Daily News Egypt.

During her career, the prominent artist only featured men two times in her paintings, and both were to present the mercilessness men have, as she sees nothing else in them to be presented art wise. Abdel Wahab follows a school that only captures women’s beauty even if in “a symbolic and unrealistic way.

Women were once worshiped and looked at as goddesses. For me, they are, still, magical creatures, whose captivating charm in an endless road when it comes to how they are featured in portraits,” she explained.

In her 30 paintings, Abdel Wahab presented women in different “angelic” forms. Most of her art work illustrates women with long hair, while swaying in different positions.

With mandala as a main theme of her art work, Abdel Wahab said that this is her way of finding inner peace and connecting to herself.

I believe I am at the awakening stage of my life. It is the phase of which I get lost within colours, and lose my consciousness between the painting lines. Every time I feel I need to solve an issue in my own life or reconnect to myself, I hold the brush and when I am done, I sometimes wonder how I managed to produce this art work!” she asserted.

Abdel Wahab variously uses the mandala in her work, whether they are applied as an earring for the fairy tale, or a pin holding the thick hair of the mermaid. Vibrant in colours, mandalas are redefined in use at every piece of art.

At a certain time of my life, I was depressed, and the use of colours and mandalas was one of my ways out. Ever since, I turned into the vibrantly manifesting my portraits,” Abdel Wahab added.

For two years, she spent most of her time working on this exhibition, and personally connecting to every showcased woman. Surrounded with energetic hues, one cannot find any portrait named.

“I do not believe in names!” Abdel Wahab firmly said, adding that “naming an art work means limiting the way someone sees it, which contradicts with the art’s main target of unleashing delivered message to audience.” 

Following the explanation, Abdel Wahab explained that this is the first exhibition she has ever named in her long, rich artistic life.

I only labelled the exhibition based on the request of Lamasatt Art Gallery, as they are required to title it. However, I see that any name stands in between me as an artist and audience. What if the message they receive from a certain portrait is totally different that the given signature?!” Abdel Wahab wondered.

“In the isthmus of the road” is one of Abdel Wahab’s few local exhibitions, as most of her works featured internationally, with focuses for global accreditation, the artist held few exhibitions in Egypt.

At a younger age, I aimed for my name to roam the world. Now that I have satisfyingly reached that, my focus is for further expansion in Egypt,” she noted.

The veteran artist asserted that from the different exhibit halls she has been showcasing her work all of her life, Lamasatt Art Gallery matches the international standards existing around the world.

I knew that the next exhibition I’m holding in Egypt will be at the same gallery, not only for the professionalism the staff has in dealing with art works, but also for their attention to small details, that others would not consider,” she concluded.


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Kom El-Shoqafa archaeological site fully renovated Tue, 05 Mar 2019 11:00:21 +0000 Saving hundreds of rare relics from drowning, the Ministry of Antiquities announced completing the restoration of Kom El-Shoqafa archaeological site in Alexandria. The renovation process included lowering underground water that was threatening the relics in the tombs. The restoration was conducted with the help of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the …

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Saving hundreds of rare relics from drowning, the Ministry of Antiquities announced completing the restoration of Kom El-Shoqafa archaeological site in Alexandria. The renovation process included lowering underground water that was threatening the relics in the tombs.

The restoration was conducted with the help of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Authority for Potable Water and Sewerage (NAPWAS). USAID granted the renovation with a total of $5.7m in order to facilitate the process and shortens its required time.

The area holds historical importance due to its catacombs which are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World. The site also contains several remains from the Greek and Roman eras.

Leakage of underground water was the main threat of the area, as well as the increasing humidity being located near of Mahmoudiya Canal.

According to a state-run media outlet, the Minister of Antiquities, Khaled El-Enany, said: “As we are celebrating today the completion of the groundwater lowering project for the Catacombs of Kom El-Shoqafa in Alexandria, we will also celebrate the completion of the Kom Ombo Temple groundwater lowering project in one month.”

The site is planned to be reopened as an open museum. The restoration of Kom El-Shoqafa is part of the ministry’s latest plan in renovating abandoned archaeological sites seeking to direct more attention to them.

Moustafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, stated that two of the tombs were already restored, and the other tombs are still undergoing renovation.

According to a previous statement by the ministry, the open museum will be divided into four sections. The first will be dedicated to funeral architecture and is planned to contain 34 tombs with detailed signs revealing the description and era of each of them. While the second part of the museum will be dedicated to religious architecture where several statues are to be displayed including those of sphinx figures.

The third part will display civil architecture, specifically the remains of unearthed structures including building columns. The fourth extension will be dedicated to artefacts the committee expects to be discovered throughout the restoration process.

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Oldest tattooing tool discovered in North America Mon, 04 Mar 2019 13:00:41 +0000 ‘This gives some insight into how people used tattoos for social, spiritual status in past,’ says lead author

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Thousands of years before tattoos were defined, the way people currently know them, prehistoric humans found their own way of being inked in what, nowadays, seems to be astonishing. Archaeologists from the Washington State University discovered the world’s oldest tattooing tool in western North America.

A 2,000-year-old tattooing needle made from cactus spines was found this week. It’s believed to be made at the hands of Ancestral Pueblo People of the Basketmaker II Era in what is now south-eastern Utah.

In a research published by the university in the Journal of Archaeological Science, the pin-size needle was determined as the earliest discovery of tattooing in western North America, which would lead scientists to knowing more about the lives of prehistoric people.

“This tattoo tool provides information about past south-western culture that we did not really know before. It has a great significance for understanding how people managed relationships and how status may have been marked on people in the past during a time when population densities were increasing in the southwest (also known as the Neolithic demographic transition),” the lead author of the study, Andrew GillreathBrown, told Daily News Egypt.

He explained that tattoos are a permanent marker that individuals would have on their bodies. This makes it very different from other body decoration and ornamental practices.

The study indicated that cactus spine tattooing tools from Arizona and New Mexico provided the best archaeological examples of early tattoo implements from the southwest. The earliest of these have been dated to between AD 1100 1280.

GillreathBrown added that such a discovery allows the team to further explore human nature, culture, and living circumstances of the people of that era.

“This give some insight into how people managed relationships and how people may have used tattoos for social and spiritual status in the past,” he continued, adding, “It is important to discover the timing and occurrences of prehistoric tattooing, because it allows us to understand the reasons behind body modification, and how that has changed over time.”

According to the university journal, the tool consists of a 3.5 cm wooden handle bound at the end with split yucca leaves and holding two parallel cactus spines and stained black at their tips.

No signs of tattooing were previously detected in South America. No tattoos were ever found on human remains, and it was never mentioned in any authentic records.

According to GillreathBrown, there was not any evidence that prehistoric people knew tattoos before the discovery of this tool. “There is rock art and incised pottery that show individuals with geometric or simple lines, which some have speculated as representing tattooing instead of body painting. However, until this artefact, there was nothing to substantiate those tattoo claims,” he assured.

“Tattoos were also used as signalling systems; sometimes as ways to show things, such as a person’s experience, gender, or ethnicity. We really do not know how people may have identified gender in the past, but tattooing could potentially give us a sense of different genders in the past. Tattoos could have been away to reinforce ideas within a group, such as religious beliefs or intergroup relationships,” GillreathBrown concluded.

Until the present moment, the discovery did not appertain to artefacts with the Oxford University researchers that found that the oldest tattoo discovered in the world was on the arms of two Egyptian mummies that date back to the predynastic period.

The discovery was announced in March 2018. The mummies are located at the British Museum which stated at the time that the tattoos were on the upper arms of the male and female mummies, describing the male’s tattoo depicting a bull and a Barbary sheep, while the woman’s tattoo shows linear and S-shaped motifs.

Daniel Antoine, curator of physical anthropology at the British Museum, told Reuters that “the position of these tattoos suggests they were designed to be highly visible on the upper arm and the shoulder.”

The mummies were discovered 100 years ago, buried at an archaeological site 40km away from Luxor. According to researchers’ studies, they date to 3351 to 3017 BC. Before the discovery, researchers believed that tattooing was only applied on women in Africa.

Additional reporting by Mohammed El-Said. 


PHOTO CREDIT: Robert Hubner, Washington State University

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Medical students revive 1970s in prom photoshoot Sun, 03 Mar 2019 12:00:39 +0000 ‘I was driven by a real passion to relive the era I love the most,’ says photographer

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After seven years of tremendous study at the Faculty of Medicine in Minya University, a group of students decided to celebrate their graduation with a unique photoshoot.

With bright colours and vintage clothes, twenty grads travelled back in time through the lens of a young photographer to the 1970s to revive the alluring era’s fashion and beauty.

They wanted to celebrate the end of their journey in university and the beginning of a great mission of saving lives, with a one-of-a-kind photoshoot.

Young photographer Medhat Eid captured with his camera the moments of happiness the students lived.

“It was a crazy idea that they came up with, and once I was informed about it. I immediately agreed,” Eid told Dily News Egypt.

The journey of picking the 1970s era was not the only idea the students came up with, yet it was the most tempting one.

“We were talking about how we all share the same idea of going back to the time of our parents and grandparents, when women freely walked with colourful miniskirts, short dresses, and heels, and when men wore suits instead of jeans. That’s when the idea of bringing back our most beloved era shined and we were all determined of making it come true,” Eid explained.

Before settling at the most shining fashion era in the 20th century, the team wanted to dress like pharaohs, or Bedouins, “yet, our passion to the 1970s made us to choose it as the decade that deserves to be revived the most,” Eid added.

Before the photoshoot, Eid spent several days digging into the history to discover the photography techniques of this era.

“I wanted it to be a complete project, not only dress like that era, but also for me to capture photos like our parents were photographed at that time, while also showing their shining souls, bright smiles, and sense of humor,” Eid pointed out.

While the team were busy getting their dresses and costumes, Eid was busy looking for the pictures taken at the 1970s. At first, he started with his own family pictures.

“I opened the pictured buried at the time worn box in the closet, placed untouched, just like many other Egyptian families’ memories. I looked into the way people posed, smiled, and dealt with the camera,” he said.

Then he checked some international photos of that era. Eid spent days searching for superstars’ cover photos. Public figures’ photoshoots and authentic books of the 1970s.

“It wasn’t just a photography project for me. I was driven by a real passion to relive the era I loved the most,” he asserted.

The search led Eid to the main elements that should be applied in the photoshoot,

“A guitar was an essential element at most of the 1970s photographs. Even if the person does not know how to play it. It was considered unique and modern to be captured holding one,” he smilingly added.

One of the goals Eid aimed to highlight in his photography project, was to deny the stereotype people have regarding Minya governorate.

“There’s this stereotype that the people in Upper Egypt are the furthest from modernism. The false belief limited fashion and beauty to big cities, like Cairo and Alexandria. But what we aimed to showcase through these pictures is to change this idea. This is how our parents looked like and lived for most of their lives,” Eid asserted.

He added that the social changes in Egypt happened at all governorates simultaneously, including Minya.

“We faced many challenges in this photoshoot, it was not easy for the female grads to walk in Minya with short skirts, which would be difficult in Cairo as well. We spent a lot of time trying to move from one place to another, as their appearances grabbed people’s attention,” Eid concluded.

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Fritz Lang's masterpiece 'M' revisited in a dark TV series Fri, 01 Mar 2019 10:28:00 +0000 The post Fritz Lang's masterpiece 'M' revisited in a dark TV series appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Fritz Lang’s iconic classic from 1931, “M,” has inspired a new TV series. The thriller “M — A City Hunts a Murderer” reflects on the similarities between the political climate in 1931 and today.A mysterious whistled tune echoes through the city. A child murderer first appears as an elusive shadow. His series of killings create panic in the city. The police is clueless, and the criminal underworld gets involved: "An outsider is ruining our reputation," they declare, setting up a manhunt.

This is the backdrop of Fritz Lang's 1931 masterpiece, M, starring Peter Lorre in the role of the serial killer. The German Expressionist film was one of the first sound films and set new aesthetic standards.

Two years after its release, the Nazis took power in Germany. In retrospect, it was a premonitory work of the disaster that was to come, portraying how an entire population can get carried away under the influence of evil.

Read more: Movies of a turbulent century: German film company Ufa turns 100

A tested recipe: Hit films adapted into TV series

Now Lang's film is revisited as a TV series. The Austrian six-part series, M — A City Hunts a Murderer, can be watched in German on TV Now, the new streaming platform for Germany's largest commercial broadcaster, RTL.

The media group's streaming service is still widely unknown in the country; with this program, the company is trying to find its way in the hotly contested on-demand TV series market, facing competition from US giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime and British broadcaster Sky.

In this context, producers have been adapting a number of successful film classics into TV series. The 2006 thriller Perfume: The Story of a Murderer was turned into a series for German public broadcaster ZDFneo. A sequel to the 1981 film, Das Boot, has been produced for Sky. An upcoming international co-production of a TV series based on The Name of the Rose is also in the works.

Read more: Top 10 German thrillers

A plot reflecting Austria's political climate

The new series, M — A City Hunts a Murderer, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, transfers the plot to wintry present-day Vienna.

Director David Schalko and co-writer Evi Romen have kept the framework of Fritz Lang's film: A mysterious series of murders of children shocks the city. While parents deal with the tragedy of learning that the missing children have been killed, the police try to track down the murderer. The right-wing interior minister — strongly reminiscent of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz — puts pressure on the police, while using the murder series to promote his political goals for greater homeland security. The tabloid press similarly hopes to increase circulation figures with the story.

Adrenalized by politicians and the media exploiting the refugee crisis, the population resorts to vigilante justice. Like in Fritz Lang's version, the criminal underworld gets involved in the manhunt as the mobsters' illegal dealings are also threatened by unrest in the city.

The government, the police and Vienna's crime syndicate all act in concert. Despite their different interests, they share the same ultimate goal: to capture the murderer and restore the status quo.

The series' focus on refugees in the role of "the outsider" is obviously no coincidence. The director and scriptwriter said they wanted to make a clear statement on the current political situation in Austria with their modern-day interpretation of Fritz Lang's work.

Director David Schalko told Variety magazine that he was interested in the similarities in the politics of 1931 and 2018: "We nowadays also seem to live in times when civil rights are questioned, surveillance is a big matter and right-wing politicians lose their inhibition to hide their ambition to destroy democracy and European peace," he said.

"It is strange that we live in such wealthy and comfortable times and despite that we are urged to follow this dark spiral," he added, referring to the far-right political climate in today's Europe. "Everybody feels where a journey like that could probably end. We have seen it … It is like a dark human force destroying things."

M — A City Hunts a Murderer will also be released on DVD / Blue Ray on March 1.

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Checking in on Cologne's oldest Carnival association: the Rote Funken Wed, 27 Feb 2019 14:04:00 +0000 The post Checking in on Cologne's oldest Carnival association: the Rote Funken appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Inspired by Cologne’s city soldiers, the Rote Funken guard goes way back to the 18th century. DW’s Silke Wünsch takes a closer look at this traditional Carnival group of the party-hardy.Being a member of Cologne's traditional Carnival association, the Rote Funken, requires three essential things: being a man, having good connections in the city, and having a knack at putting away substantial amounts of beer and schnapps without embarrassing himself or the club.

Also, he should demonstrate that he has worked very hard to become part of this illustrious group, since it's not just anyone who is accepted. Oh, no, he has to have the right family, friends and connections to enter the society. Also, he has to have at least three "guarantors" who attest to his suitability; then, he can apply for admission. "That can take up to three or four years," said Günter Ebert, spokesperson for the Rote Funken. "And it doesn't matter if you are on the board of directors of a major company or a craftsman. Money is not what gives you entry into the club," he added.

Carnival kicks off in November

Carnival actually kicks off on November 11, but the Rote Funken begin even earlier. On November 1, All Saints' Day, they pay a visit to their deceased loved one at Cologne's time-honored Melaten Cemetery.

Then, on November 11, they gather at Cologne's Old City to boast their talents: with 450 members, a band and orchestra getting crowds into a Carnival party mood and moderators inviting Cologne dialect bands up on stage.

Things quiet down again through the Christmas season, but then things really get going with the start of the new year, with the Rote Funken appearing at countless Carnival shows throughout the city in the run-up to the six-day Carnival celebration normally starting in February.

Charity work, too

The Rote Funken don't just work hard to keep the Carnival tradition alive, they also consider themselves a non-profit association with a commitment to society. They help to support disadvantaged people, for instance. Last December, the club hosted a mass in the Cologne dialect, with the collection of some €12,000 ($13,700) going to an association that helps the poor and homeless.

They also organize Carnival shows for handicapped people, as well as walk through the city collecting donations for specials group. This year, it has been for a project that aids some 1,500 homeless women in the city.

The Rote Funken certainly reel in the proceeds, as they easily attract with their bright red and white costumes and musical band. Tourists especially like to have their pictures taken with them. On one weekend alone, members collected around €11,000 for the charity.

A long way back

The Rote Funken are composed of more than 600 members divided into four groups called Knubbel, who meet throughout the year in pubs. Each Knubbel has its own characteristics and symbols that refer to history of the old city soldiers, the Stadtsoldaten. They include a red-and-white knitted sock, an onion, a spinning top, and a cork.

They symbolize that, in times of peace, the city soldiers did various things to earn extra money, like knitting socks for other people, doing household chores like chopping vegetables and cooking, and taking care of kids and having them play with toy tops. The cork is a reminder that, with little else to do, the former soldiers would spend their time drinking.

The city soldiers: a laughingstock

Back then, in the late 18th century, the city soldiers did not enjoy much of a good reputation. They were supposed to protect the city, but from whom? The city's walls were sturdy and well-guarded.

The city soldiers were thus more of feckless day laborers who were paid poorly and had to take on side jobs like knitting and tending to children. They became the mockery of Cologne's citizens. With their penchant for drinking out of boredom, when the French marched into town in 1794, the city soldiers were completely useless and took to their heels.

Keeping Carnival alive

Then, in 1823, a few important men sat down together and decided to establish the Rote Funken club, with the aim of giving shape to the wild Carnival from back then.

A newspaper article on February 14, 1824 reported that several friends had united as a "walking guard in honor of our hero Carnival." Thus the Rote Funken marched in the first Rose Monday parade ever, wearing uniforms just like the old city soldiers. The Rote Funken remain true to that tradition to this day, with contemporary suits being tailor-fit and running up to €1,500 a piece, said Ebert.

No women?

But if you're searching for women donning a Rote Funken uniform, you'll do so in vain. There is only one, and she is an honorary member. It's Henriette Reker, Cologne's Lord Mayor, as every mayor becomes a Rote Funken honorary.

"We're the last group to be discriminating toward women," said Ebert. Still, there are historical reasons for the nearly male-only policy: There was only one woman among the old city soldiers and that was the sutler. And she did not enjoy a very good reputation. She was responsible for the amusement of the men. That's why, nowadays, the Funken have their "Marie" — the female dancer of the guards. Interestingly, the "Marie" role used to be taken up by a man, until the Nazis asserted that a woman take on the position.

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Ancient New Kingdom’s sandstone workshop discovered in Aswan Tue, 26 Feb 2019 19:48:53 +0000 It included 5-meter-long criosphinx statue

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Less than a month after unearthing a wine press factory and a boat construction workshop, the Ministry of Antiquities announced on Tuesday discovering a New Kingdom’s sandstone workshop in Aswan at the hands of a Swedish-Egyptian mission.

The discovery also included a large criosphinx statue. Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, stated in a press release that the statue’s dimensions are 5 metres long, 3.5 metres high, and 1.5 metres wide, and it is believed to belong to Amenhotep III of the 18th Dynasty.

The Swedish mission is headed by Maria Nilsson and John Ward from the Lund University.

Abdel Meneim Saeed, director-general of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities, said in a press release that a statue of a cobra was also discovered inside the workshop, along with a blank round-top stela. 

Nilsson stated that the discovery is extremely important as it grabs the people’s attention to the area for containing more than just quarries. She added that now it is proved that the area had workshops of making various life needed architectural elements.

Both sculptures seem to be preserved in a rough-cut and had been prepared for transportation, according to the state-run media outlet, Al-Ahram Online.

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R. Kelly cancelled: What to do with art made by predatory men? Tue, 26 Feb 2019 15:11:00 +0000 The post R. Kelly cancelled: What to do with art made by predatory men? appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Concerts in Germany by singer R. Kelly have been cancelled following the singer’s arrest. A petition to #MuteRKelly was launched after accusations he had sexually assaulted minors were the focus of a documentary.For the last two decades, the Chicago-based R&B singer R. Kelly has been accused of sexual abusing minors. Although he only had to appear before a judge once and was acquitted from the charges he then faced, rumors about the singer have been circulating for years.

On Friday, the singer was arrested on 10 counts of sexual abuse of four women, three of whom were minors at the time of the alleged assaults.

Surviving R. Kelly, a six-part investigative series that began airing on the US network Lifetime in January brought renewed attention to the accusations against Kelly. Since it first aired, there have been calls on Twitter to cancel the artist: #MuteRKelly suggests having his songs removed from radio air time and music apps.

The singer, for his part, has repeatedly denied any sexual misconduct, even going so far as to release a 19-minute song in 2018 in which he laments, "I am so falsely accused."

R. Kelly concerts cancelled in Germany

In Germany, many Twitter users have adopted a Germanized version of the hashtag campaign — #RKellystummschalten — and by mid-day on Tuesday, an online petition calling for the cancellation of R. Kelly's concerts in Germany had more than 240,000 signatures.

Beyond the online campaign, Kelly was forced to hand in his passport as part of the legal agreement that allowed the singer to be freed from jail on bail, ending his hopes of doing a tour of Europe in the spring.

One of the two German concert venues where the singer was scheduled to perform in April announced on Tuesday that the performance had been called off. "Regarding the new and objective facts, we have decided to cancel the contract," the operators of the Ratiopharm Arena in Neu-Ulm wrote on Facebook.

The other venue, located in Hamburg, told press agency AP that they were in talks with the organizer to cancel the concert there as well. Without a passport, "It's obvious that R. Kelly will not be capable of holding his concert in Hamburg or elsewhere outside the US," the Hamburg arena operator added.

But should have arena operators even been allowed to book the singer to perform in their venue, given the allegations? The concert scheduled for southern Germany had only landed in the Ratiopharm Arena in Neu-Ulm after venues in Ludwigsburg and Sindelfingen had already cancelled the show due to protests.

In several cities across the US, the singer had already been told he was unwelcome, with the Philadelphia city council going so far as to passing a non-binding resolution to keep the singer away. "It's about being clear that we will not accept a future where rape is accepted," city council member Helen Gym told the Philadelphia Inquirer afterwards. "We're not going to turn a blind eye to pain and we will not allow the silencing of black women in favor of powerful men."

At the same time, reports of R. Kelly's fans standing by the singer since the documentary's release continue to show up on gossip websites, including one which noted a show by singer at the V75 nightclub in Chicago had sold out, with a majority of those in attendance female fans of the singer.

#MeToo and the art of men accused of sexual assault

Clearly, there is money to be made in hosting a performance by R. Kelly, one of the best-selling music artists of all time, a musician who has not only made it big as a solo artist but who has also written songs for other performers, including Celine Dion, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga.

But it begs the question: What to do with the art of men accused of sexual assault?

"In the public's mind, man and work seem to be the same thing," writes novelist Claire Dederer in The Paris Review. "Ought we try to separate the art from the artist, the maker from the made? Do we undergo a willful forgetting when we want to listen to, say, Wagner's Ring Cycle? Or do we believe genius gets special dispensation, a behavioral hall pass?"

As the list of famous men who have been accused of sexual assault or misconduct continues to grow, those are questions we need to be asking ourselves not only as individuals but also as communities and societies with a moral code.

The consequences for the cases of sexual misconduct revealed since the launch of the #MeToo campaign in 2017 and the renewed awareness of the crimes it brought to light have been uneven, scattershot.

Kevin Spacey has disappeared from his role of Frank Underwood on House of Cards while a lawsuit is ongoing. At the same time, Woody Allen continues making movies despite the allegations against him. And comedian Louis C.K. recently returned to the stage in New York to joke about allegations of sexual misconduct that had led to the premiere of his movie, I Love You, Daddy, being cancelled.

Even as the punishments doled out, both legally and in terms of damage to careers and reputations, have been uneven, there is one common thread. As David Sims wrote in The Atlantic, "A broader culture of permissiveness has allowed influential men in entertainment to weather almost any scandal and continue to build their careers."

While each individual has to come to terms with his or her own ethical stances and decide what to do with the art made by men accused of sexual assault, there is the possibility for a societal reckoning evidenced by the online petition and cancellation of R. Kelly's concerts.

As more people take a stand against the entertainment industry and its coddling of those who, like R. Kelly, have been accused of sexual assault, the broader discussion becomes one of what values a society wants to set for itself. By not accepting "a future where rape is accepted," Philadelphia council member Helen Gym has set a tone that more should follow.

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When a former Nazi forced labor camp houses a bowling club Tue, 26 Feb 2019 13:44:00 +0000 The post When a former Nazi forced labor camp houses a bowling club appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

A sausage museum at a former concentration camp? Those plans are now on ice. But can memorial spaces coexist with everyday life? Former barracks in Berlin’s suburbs show how these spaces of remembrance are shared."It's nice and bright on the side looking out onto the garden; we now have new, large windows. That's what we'd like to get in the front too," says Birgit Kroll, director of the Kindergarten Sonnenstrahl, where 50 children are looked after during the day. As she leads us through the colorful rooms filled with playing kids, nothing suggests that this was a space where forced laborers were kept under the Nazis, more than 70 years ago.

The small windows on the front side are, however, there to stay, according to memorial protection orders. Birgit Kroll also mentions other architectural difficulties related to the renovation of the roof and thermal insulation.

The kindergarten director focuses on the daily tasks at hand, on the children — yet she is well aware of the history of the building: "When you're alone here on an early shift, it's a bit strange."

The Sonnenstrahl Kindergarten belongs to a barrack ensemble from 1943 that was built as a Nazi forced labor camp in the middle of a residential area in Berlin's Schöneweide district.

Half a million forced laborers in Berlin

It is one of the estimated 3,000 collective accommodation spaces for forced laborers that were built in the German capital — and the only one that has survived to this day.

The 13 barracks here were made of stone instead of the usual wood, which is how they survived World War II and the later turmoil of divided Berlin during the Cold War.

The buildings therefore provide a rare memorial to the around 500,000 Nazi forced laborers who were exploited in Berlin.

The forgotten victims of World War II

Although around 13 million people were brought into to the German Reich for forced labor — including civilian forced laborers, prisoners of war, convicts and concentration camp prisoners — they are still a "forgotten group of victims" today, says Christine Glauning, the director of the Nazi Forced Labor Documentation Center, which is now housed in six of the Schöneweide barracks.

"Forced labor was visible, a public crime," adds the historian. Most of the forced laborers were led in columns to the factories, workshops, factories, cemeteries or even to private households where they were exploited, so the civil population was necessarily aware of their existence.

The first permanent exhibition, which opened in one of the barracks in 2013, is therefore called "Forced Labor in the Daily Round 1938-1945."

Multimedia installations, combining private photos and recent video interviews, tell the stories of different victims, such as the Polish woman Genowefa Czub, who was taken from the concentration camp in Auschwitz to work as a forced laborer in Berlin; the Russian Nikolai Fedorowitsch Galuschkow, who was only 15 years old when he started to work as a gravedigger in cemetery; the Ukrainian Sinaida Baschlai, who was deported to Berlin in 1942 and had to work as the maid of a flight officer.

A memorial among various businesses

One half of the barracks has been turned into a public documentation center; it was a space that used to be a vaccination institute under the GDR. The other buildings have been rented out or privately owned since East German times; along with the kindergarten, there's a physiotherapy center, a sauna, a car dealership and a bowling club.

After visiting the exhibition at the documentation center, you wonder how anyone would want to go the sauna in one of the other barracks, just across the street, knowing that it's the exact location where forced laborers had to freeze in the winter. How could anyone want to buy a car where people used to be exploited in metalworking companies? Or enjoy a game of bowling in a former location of suffering?

A sausage museum, selfies and picnics

"I find it interesting," says Christine Glauning, referring to the current discussion surrounding what may and what may not be done in such historical locations. The most recent controversy came in Thuringen, when investors planned to extend a sausage museum in an annex of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Following public outrage, another location was found.

While historian Christine Glauning is not necessarily against all new uses for places of remembrance, she says she was clearly opposed to one project that would have set up a refugee shelter in a former barrack of a concentration camp. "I think that is simply wrong," she says. After the end of World War II, German refugees and prisoners of war were partly accommodated in former concentration camps.

In the center of Berlin, too, there are often discussions surrounding the way tourists approach the Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe. In reaction to their inappropriate selfies, Israeli artist Shahak Shapira launched the "Yolocaust" art project, in which he used their shots, and edited them onto photos of mass graves of murdered Jews.

Peter Eisenman, the architect of the field of stelae isn't as strict about the way people should approach the monument. In an interview with Spiegel Online, he once said that the monument was not a "holy place." "People will have a picnic there. Children will play catch there. There will be models posing there and films will be made there."

A search for collective memory

Birgit Kroll wanted to colorfully decorate the wall along their Kindergarten yard with the children — a creative project she was excited about. "But no, the preservation order didn't allow us to do it," she sighs. "That's just the way it is."

Has she ever visited the documentation center? No, she admits: "I'm very interested in history, but I'm always very emotional about it. My grandfather was a prisoner of war himself."

Christine Glauning, who has also previously worked in other Nazi memorial sites, has often observed this: "It's better to go further away than to visit the memorial right in front of your door." It shakes a person's identity to combine feelings of home and security with a location of cruelty and humiliation, she explains.

The indifference surrounding the barracks in Berlin-Schöneweide nevertheless remains surprising for visitors. The current tenants appear to be more irritated by the fact that the barracks are now protected historical monuments than their previous history. Should the barrack that has been a garage for decades be painted in the same bleak color as the documentation center? Should restoration that would improve the children's situation in the kindergarten also be restricted?

"Memorials should irritate," says Glauning. Remembrance happens when the difficult aspects of history rub against the present.

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French Minister of Culture visits gallery showcasing emerging Egyptian artists’ work Tue, 26 Feb 2019 07:30:20 +0000 Visit aims to feature artistic assets, creations of young Egyptian artists

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When the group of young and amateur artists who are showcasing their art work at Zamalek’s SOMA Art Gallery were conscientiously working on their portraits, the image of the French Minister of Culture paying a visit to praise their work did not cross their mind. However, what seemed initially as impossible, turned out to come true after all and manifested in front of their eyes.

The French Minister of Culture, Franck Reister, visited the SOMA Art Gallery in an exclusive short visit to contemplate the work of 20 emerging young artists, who are just starting their professional art careers.

The visit comes as a part of a three-year fruitful partnership between the SOMA Art School and Gallery and the Institut Français D’Egypte which included a number of exchange art programmes between the two institutions and a large number of graduates from the SOMA Art School.

Taking a look at the young artists’ work came with the aim of featuring the artistic assets and creations of emerging Egyptian artists.

During the minister’s visit, he was accompanied by Mohamed Bouabdallah, the director of the Institut Français D’Egypte, with the presence of Samir Naguib and Khaled Hamza, the founders of SOMA.

Reister expressed his thrill with the artwork, assuring the importance of further cooperation between Egypt and France in the art field. 

“The French Minister was impressed with the progress and advancement of the Egyptian art scene and stressed on the importance of the exchange of arts and culture for the development of humanity,” the press release stated.

For his side, Naguib, the founder of SOMA, highlighted the importance of uniting all galleries and cultural institutions in order to promote the artistic assets of Egypt and to introduce them to a broader international audience.

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Two antiquities on display in Egyptian Museum for first time Tue, 26 Feb 2019 07:00:38 +0000 Announcement made a day after receiving remains of Egyptian ancient mummy

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The Egyptian Museum in Tahrir announced that an ancient gilded mask and a funerary relief that were never displayed in public before will be showcased at the museum’s entrance hall this week.

The gilded mask was a gift from an Egyptian citizen living in France, Sabah Abdel Razik, the director of the Egyptian Museum and the head of the museums sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, said.

She added that the mask was restored like other artefacts before display.

As for the funerary relief, it depicts a family of four members. The relief was discovered in El-Assasif, a necropolis in Upper Egypt, during the excavation work of Metropolitan Museum in 1915.

It features a man called “Neith-Ptah” and a woman believed to be his wife standing behind him, with two children. Inscriptions on the relief state that the depicted boy and girl are Neith-Ptah’s children.

Carvings on the relief read: the family was offered giving from the God Patah-Seker.

Showcasing the two artefacts comes as a part of the Ministry of Antiquities’ policy to display newly discovered antiquities at the Egyptian Museum. It comes to compensate the hundreds of antiquities that will be transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) preparing for its opening in 2020. Most of the relics were restored at the Egyptian Museum.

Minister of Antiquities, Khaled Anany, previously stated that there are thousands of monuments that have never been displayed in public before will replace other monuments that were moved to the GEM, stressing that the museum’s stores are full of artefacts that were not spotlighted before.

The announcement came a day after the Egyptian Museum announced it received remains of two mummies that the Egyptian authorities foiled smuggling them outside the country.

The Ministry of Antiquities announced on Sunday that two mummies were found with a passenger who was travelling to Belgium from the Cairo International Airport.

The seized mummy remains included hands, legs, and parts of one of the mummy’s chest. The parts were reported to be found with linen wraps and parts of the mummification resin.

The passenger’s bags were detected by X-ray which showed something unusual inside a music speaker. They were detected to be remains of a mummy, and a committee from the ministry confirmed they belong to an ancient mummy.

The era those mummies belong to was not determined yet. Nonetheless, the parts will be examined and restored once they arrive in the Egyptian Museum.

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9th Hakawy Festival: arts for children’s enlightenment Mon, 25 Feb 2019 13:30:39 +0000 Festival provides platform for eight international troupes along with nine others from Egypt

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A little child sits in front of the big theatre looking passionately with glittery eyes at the puppets moving at the stage, teaching him life lessons that will be carved in his memory for years to come. As this child was following a puppetry in which a knight was fighting for justice sacrificing his life to save those who are in need, the goal of Hakawy International Arts Festival for Children seemed to be attained.

The 9th edition of Hakawy (stories in Arabic) will kick off on 4 March. The festival presents various types of theatre arts, such as puppetry and musical theatre, as well as modern dance.

For 12 days, children will be entertained with various shows under the umbrella of theatre performances.

The festival will be sponsored by the AFCA Foundation for Arts and Culture, an independent entertainment organisation targeting teens and children in Egypt.

The international arts festival brings different troupes from all over the world. Eight shows from Arab and European countries will be performed along nine other Egyptian troupes, all within the same time framework of master-classes, workshops, and lectures led by  Dutch artists who also have three performances at the festival.

“The festival is going through major shifts as we tackle the industry from a wider perspective. This year, we have an increased number of international shows. We showcase a larger number of Egyptian troupes. Over ten international delegates, directors of international festivals and theatres will attend Hakawy. This and many other factors will add to the building-up of the Hakawy’s anniversary edition,” Mohamed El Ghawy, the founder and artistic director of the Hakawy Festival and AFCA, said in a press release.

The festival’s opening night will feature the most famous puppetry in the Egyptian history, El-Leila El Kebera (The Big Night), by veteran artists Salah Jahin, Sayed Mekawy, and puppet creator Nagy Shaker.

The festival will be hosted in three cities, Cairo, Alexandria, and Tanta.

This year’s edition will witness larger participation from Egyptian performers, El-Ghawy said, adding that it would be “an opportunity to present local productions to international art practitioners, theatre, and festival managers, and the delegates who will attend the Hakawy Festival.

“We want to provide a platform for Egyptian theatre practitioners to present their work. Among our core mission elements is not to be limited to importing art but also to serve as a creative exporter of the Egyptian theatre talents, performances, and the many values that they present,” El Ghawy added.

Bamboozle Theatre from the UK is coming to Egypt to present a troupe of autistic children, who perform several plays to both families and children.

The festival sees the light in its ninth edition, supported by many partners including the Dutch Performing Arts in Netherlands; the British Council in Egypt; the French institute in Cairo; the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute in Cairo; The Goethe-Institute in Cairo and Alexandria; the Embassy of the United States of America; the Embassy of the United Kingdom; the Embassy of the Netherlands, the Egyptian Tourism Authority; the Ministry of Culture, the Hanager Arts Centre; the Falaki Theatre in Tahrir Culture Centre; Megawra (Built Environment Collective); Bibliotheca Alexandrina; Jesuit Cultural Centre (Alexandria), AUEED (Association of Upper Egypt for Education and Development) in Minya, among others.

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Zawya screens documentary about Egypt’s only Sumo wrestler Mon, 25 Feb 2019 13:00:37 +0000 Boody was only Arab wrestler to win Professional Sumo League

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In its first commercial screen after participating in local and international film festivals, Boody: The Sumo Pharaoh, was screened at Zawya on Sunday.

Directed by Sarah Riad, the film tells the story of Egypt’s first professional Sumo wrestler in Japan.

Abdelrahman Sha’lan “Boody”, known by his wrestling name ‘Osunaarashi’ (the great sand storm), is the first Sumo wrestler of his kind ever to make it to the professional Sumo world in Japan. He is celebrated for being one of the strongest high-ranking Sumo wrestlers.

Furthermore, Boody was dubbed the desert storm for his one of kind abilities in wrestling which was not met by any of the Middle East’s wrestlers. He was the only wrestler from the region to win the Professional Sumo League. He met President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and was named as ambassador of Egyptian tourism in Japan.

The documentary reveals Boody’s journey from Al-Bagalt, a small village in Egypt, where he grew up, all the way to Tokyo, right into the one-of-a-kind professional Sumo world.

His journey was chronicled in an hour-long documentary by 25-year-old Egyptian-Japanese filmmaker.

Riad is known for writing and producing her own works. The documentary will be screened in the festival’s long feature films section. She wrote and directed the short film ‘Bela Rouh’ (Without A Soul) which won an award at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth in Seattle.

Boody: The Sumo Pharouh previously received the Best Feature Documentary award at the Copenhagen International Documentary Festival in 2017.

The film was screened at several film festivals, including the Largo Film Awards, Switzerland; the Ouchy Film Awards, Switzerland; the Independent Days International Filmfest; the Oran International Arabic Film Festival; the Philadelphia Independent Film Awards, the US; the Lisbon Film Festival; and the Polish International Film Festival.

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6,500 tourists witness sunbeams illuminated Ramses II statue Sun, 24 Feb 2019 11:00:14 +0000 Sunlight invade through the dark chamber of the Great Temple of Ramses II illuminating the pharaoh’s statue twice a year on 22 February 22 and 22 October.

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The sunrise came on Friday differently than any other, illuminating the features of over 3,000-year-old statue of Ramses II in Abu Simbel Temple in Aswan.

About 6,500 tourists gathered at the temple before dawn to witness the sunrays revealing the features of the beloved pharaoh. The illumination was attended by Minister of Antiquities, Khaled Anany; Minister of Tourism, Rania Al-Mashat; Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr; Minister of Culture, Inas Abdel Dayem; Minister of Communications, Amr Talaat; and Governor of Aswan, Ahmed Ibrahim, as well as 22 ambassadors and diplomats from African countries, including ambassadors of Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Guinea, and Cote d’Ivoire.

Astonishment, enthusiasm, and thrill were the taking over emotions of the 20-minute phenomenon, as the sunrays fall on the 22-metre-long statue slowly starting from face of the statue, expanding to the surrounding giant statues.

The gathering of African ambassadors came in parallel with Egypt’s current presidency of the African Union earlier this month. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has also announced that Aswan is the cultural capital of the African Union this year.

According to a press release published by the Ministry of Antiquities, ambassadors expressed their enthusiasm and administration of this phenomenon as some of them were watching it for the first time. They were also keen to take photos with the Minister of Antiquities to document their visit.

Last week, Hussein Abdel Basir, director of the Antiquities Museum at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina told local media outlets that this phenomenon of Ramses II is a “proof of how genius the ancient Egyptians were in engineering, astronomy, and spirituality.”

Abdel Basir added that “one of the most beautiful features of the Abu Simbel Temple is the penetration of the sunbeam to the temple’s main door to shine directly on the face of Ramses II twice a year in a dazzling geometric and astronomical persistence.”

The temple was discovered in 1817 at the hands of the Italian discoverer Giovanni Belzoni, who travelled to the site based on the description of the Swiss traveller Jean-Louis Burckhardt.

The temple was relocated in 1968 from its original place where it was built ages ago, right after building the High Dam in Aswan and Nasser Lake which resulted in the increase of water level in the region which was threatening the temple.

The event was followed with a small celebration for the ambassadors as an attempt of boosting tourism in Egypt.

Abdel Dayem stated that this event is a strong start for Egypt’s presidency for the African Union. She explained that illumination of the sun comes in parallel with other cultural and art events in Aswan which aim to revive Egypt’s tourism.

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