Egypt opens replica of King Tut tomb in Luxor

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Egypt inaugurated on Thursday a replica of Pharaoh King Tutankhamun's tomb and opened it for the public in Luxor province, the country's ancient capital city, where many ancient pharaohs were buried.

The move aimed to protect the original tomb of the famous king that dates back to more than 3,000 years.

King Tutankhamun, known as King Tut, was the Egyptian Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty that ruled the ancient country for only nine years in the 14th century BC. His tomb at the Valley of Kings was discovered by British Egyptologist and archeologist Howard Carter in 1922, a discovery that received world press coverage back then.

"The 3D facsimile is an exact copy of King Tut's tomb. It is a new experience in Egypt and it relieves the original tomb from too many visitors and gives it a break for reparation," Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said.

He revealed that the replica will be moved in the future to the under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum near the Pyramids plateau in Giza, which is scheduled to be completed by late 2015.

Installed underground near Carter's House at the entrance of the Valley of Kings in Luxor, the replica was granted to Egypt as a gift from Madrid's Facum Arte as the first step to protect suchlike priceless ancient royal tombs.

For his part, Egyptian Tourism Minister Hesham Zaazou hailed the project as a step to preserve Egypt's cultural heritage and commended the European Union and the Spanish and Swiss foundations that helped in the project.

"This will preserve the bright ancient drawings on the tomb walls that remained intact for thousands of years," Zaazou said.

With regards to the security situation that discouraged a lot of tourists to visit the turmoil-stricken country, Zaazou said that the authorities are currently introducing new security measures to reassure visitors.

"I managed to get ministerial decisions to install cameras in public places and in hotel corridors and to install GPS and cameras inside all tourist buses in Egypt to be able to closely locate and monitor them," Zaazou continued, noting his ministry will be provided by explosive detection devices to ensure protection of visitors.

Tourism in Egypt, one of the country's main sources of income and foreign currency, has been declining sharply due to the political chaos that followed the ouster of two presidents over the past three years. Endi

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