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World famous Giza pyramids get a spring clean

Published: Updated:

A private company is cleaning up the Giza plateau in Egypt, removing garbage that has accumulated in the world famous archeological site.

The three pyramids of ancient Egyptian kings, Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, along with the Sphinx, are located on the site.

Although there is an archaeological safe zone in place, dwindling numbers of tourists after Egypt’s revolution have led to increased competition among those who rely on tourism for their income.

As a result, the site has been increasingly violated by horse and camel owners attempting to find tourists for their flagging business.

This has led to the serious issue of animal dung being left on the site.

Waste and garbage is now being cleared by a private company that won a bid launched by the tourism ministry aimed at preserving the area from urban encroachment

“Finally, the plateau has regained some of its respect, and I hope that this company will continue its success in keeping the plateau hygienic,” said Aly el-Asfar, director general of Upper Egypt monuments, in an interview with Ahram online.

Destruction of Egypt’s history

The Giza plateau is not the only historically significant site that has been subjected to mistreatment.

Close by, Egyptian youths protested Monday at a key historic site, demanding that authorities put a stop to looting and construction that threatens one of the nation’s oldest pyramids and burial grounds.

Illegal construction of a new cemetery has been going on for months in part of a 4,500-year-old pharaonic necropolis. The expansion has encroached on the largely unexplored complex of Dahshour, where Pharaoh Sneferu experimented with the first smooth-sided pyramids that his son Khufu, also known as Cheops, employed at the more famous Giza Plateau nearby, when he built the Great Pyramid.

Authorities issued an order in January to remove the construction equipment, instructing the Interior Ministry’s police to implement it, but no action has been taken.

Also, a security vacuum that followed Egypt’s 2011 popular uprising has encouraged looters to step up their illegal digs, clashing with guards at the site.

On Monday, dozens of young protesters at the site about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Cairo held up a sign that read: “God does not bless a nation that gives up its heritage.”

Ramadan Mohammed, a 20-year old student from the nearby village of Mansheyet Dahshour, said he witnessed looting himself. He said he wanted to show that Dahshour residents were not responsible and should not to be blamed.

“I’m here to see the government’s response,” Mohammed said, with the shadow of Pharaoh Sneferu’s Bent Pyramid looming in the background. “The military was in control of the country all this past period, they should have protected the site and caught the looters. Instead, they stood there doing nothing,” he complained.

Antiquities experts warn that construction of the new cemetery also endangers the ancient complex.