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Valley of the Kings Valley of the Kings
by Amin George Forji
2006-12-06 09:37:04
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The government of Mubarak have finally decided to preserve the Egyptian legacy of the pharaoh by creating more space around over 1,000 tombs in the village of Qurna. To that effect, bulldozers are currently demolishing a number of marked houses.

The project to move out the Qurnawis was first contemplated in the 1940s, after World War II, but never put in to practice until now. The demolition work is estimated to take two months to complete and an official government statement confirmed that they have now come to a compromise with the families that have been asked to leave. "Most of them want to leave and they demand to leave," Rania Yusuf , the spokeswoman for Egypt's Supreme Council for Antiquities in Luxor, said.

The Egyptian village of Qurna is home to the tombs of many of the country’s royal nobles and lays in the historic Valley of the Kings in Luxor, which is a long strip of land in which many of the kings of the 18th to the 20th century were buried - the village was inhabited by some 4,000 families. The Egyptian government says their presence shades the tombs of the nobles from exploration.

Moreover, it has raised further fears that they could be subject to water damage in future if something is not done now. It is because of these fears that the government resettled some 3,200 families from Qurna to Taref, some miles away. The Taref project, constructed by the Mubarak government, is said to have cost $31million.

Villages have, in the past, been accused of tampering with some of the tombs by digging under to remove valuable contents. There is a famous belief in Egypt that if you dig anywhere in the Valley of the Kings, you will discover some precious item. Archaeologists who constantly excavate the area with the permission of the Egyptian government have proven that this belief is far from being a myth. In fact, no century has past without something being discovered in this historic valley.

Even though the government organized a “send-off” ceremony in Qurna for the families evacuated before the start of the demolition work, many have nevertheless frowned at moving out. They are angry that they will no longer be able to continue reaping the benefits from tourists who frequent the village. 60% of Qurnawis depend on the hundreds of daily tourists for a living, and they say the new homes offered do not come with new jobs.

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