Egypt rescues 2,000-year-old catacombs from rising water

The catacombs are renowned for funerary architecture blending ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman art. (AFP)

Egypt on Sunday announced the completion of a project to save famed 2,000-year old catacombs in the coastal city of Alexandria from rising waters.

The Kom al-Shoqafa location, considered by archaeologists to be the largest Greco-Roman burial site in Egypt, has been threatened by water since its discovery in 1900.

The catacombs, which were in use from the first to the fourth century AD, are renowned for funerary architecture blending ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman art.

The rising water prompted Egypt to launch a massive drainage project supported by the United States Agency for International (USAID) in 2017.

This picture taken on March 3, 2019 shows a view from inside the catacombs of Kom El-Shoqafa (Mound of Shards), dating to the Roman period (1st-4th centuries AD) in the centre of the Egyptian Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria. (AFP)

This picture taken on March 3, 2019 shows a view from inside the catacombs of Kom El-Shoqafa (Mound of Shards), dating to the Roman period (1st-4th centuries AD) in the centre of the Egyptian Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria. (AFP)

Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani told reporters at the site that the program had helped “end a problem threatening the area for more than 100 years”.

Thomas Nichols, an engineer involved in the project, called it “a unique program where we blended archaeology and civil engineering together”

Egypt has in recent years sought to promote archaeological discoveries across the country in a bid to revive tourism hit by the turmoil that followed its 2011 uprising.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:53 - GMT 06:53
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