Controversy As Egypt Begins Ancient Pyramid Renovation

A video showing the Menkaure pyramid at Giza in Egypt undergoing renovations has sparked criticism online, with people comparing it to straightening the Leaning Tower of Piza.

The project, aimed at restoring the pyramid’s outer casing to the state it was originally built in, began work earlier this week. The Menkaure pyramid is located next to the Sphinx and the larger Khafre and Cheops pyramids. There are claims that the pyramid was intentionally dismantled by the order of Malek Abd al-Aziz Othman ben Yusuf, son of Saladin, in 1196. However according to the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, at some point in its history the pyramid was subject to an earthquake, causing the large hole seen on one side. 

The outer covering of the pyramid was originally 16 granite blocks, though now only seven remain.  The team likened the restoration project to a puzzle, as they had to match the fallen granite blocks to their original position. 

However, a video of the project shared on Facebook drew criticism from experts as well as laypeople. 


“Impossible!” Egyptologist Monica Hanna said, per AFP. “The only thing missing was to add tiling to the pyramid of Menkaure! When are we going to stop the absurdity in the management of Egyptian heritage?”

“All international principles on renovations prohibit such interventions,” she added.

Others suggested the project should include adding wallpaper or asked: “When will the project to straighten the Tower of Pisa be planned?” (to which the answer is while the Leaning Tower of Pisa has not been intentionally straightened, it has been stabilized so that it doesn’t become the Pile of Rubble of Pisa).

The pyramid was built for Pharaoh Menkaure, ruler between 2490 and 2472 BC. A mortuary temple next to the pyramid was completed after his death by his successor, Shepseskaf. The project to restore the outer casing will take around three years, which will include a lot of laser scanning and documentation before any granite blocks are moved.

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