Serapeum of Saqqara reopens

Serapeum of Saqqara reopens

CAIRO - Agence France-Presse
Egypt on Sept. 20 reopened the Serapeum of Saqqara, a vast underground necropolis south of Cairo dedicated to the bulls of Apis, after 11 years and complete renovation of the historic pharaonic site.

The Serapeum, whose origin dates back to around 1400 BC, was discovered in 1851 by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, founder of the first department of Egyptian antiquities.

It was closed temporarily in 2001 because of water seepage and earth movements.

The site contains huge subterranean galleries in which are contained the large tombs of some 30 sacred bulls, accompanied by steles bearing inscriptions providing information on the reigns under which the animals lived.

Mohammed Ibrahim, the secretary of state for antiquities, said Egypt was working to open to the public other pharaonic sites in a bid to revive tourism which has been hit by political instability for more than 18 months.

“We hope that this will help revive tourism in Egypt,” he said.