Egypt reopens ancient tombs of sacred bulls to tourists
The Serapeum of Saqqara, an ancient Egyptian site where sacred bulls were buried over the course of more than a thousand years, was reopened Thursday after 10 years of renovation work, dpa reported.
Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Mohammed Ibrahim said the monument near Cairo was being reopened in time for the new tourism season "to show that Egypt is a safe country and awaits millions of visitors and lovers of its antiquities and heritage."
The serapeum, near the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, some 20 kilometres south of present-day Cairo, was the burial place for bulls that represented the ancient Egyptian god Hape, or Apis.
The burial site is thought to have been initiated under Pharaoh Amenhotep III of Egypt's 18th dynasty, in the 14th century BC.
The sacred bulls continued to be buried there until Roman times.
When the complex was rediscovered by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette in 1851, it contained 24 granite and basalt sarcophagi, each weighing between 60 and 70 tonnes. Tourism is a key foreign currency earner for Egypt.
The industry has been hard hit by a security breakdown that gripped Egypt in the wake of an uprising that toppled Hosny Mubarak more than a year ago.