Anyone who has ever visited
Tourists have typically been continually harassed to buy anything from a postcard to a stuffed camel or a T-shirt. The hustlers did not give up easily, following the tourists around and pressing them to buy their goods, while camels and donkeys owners did the same.
Soon, however, this could all be a thing of the past. Since August this year, when the Egyptian Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosni, opened the first stage of a $26 million project,
The surveillance system is based on 147 fixed cameras and 36 mobile cameras installed along the fence, in addition to 16 indoor cameras. Previous access to the area was free-for-all through a stone paved route.
Everyone including the locals now has to enter at the one and only entrance opposite the fast food KFC and pay an entry fee, freeing them up in one go from the hustlers who remain on the outside.
Later on, plans are afoot to bring in golf cart trains to transport tourists from the entrance up to the pyramids and the sphinx. Currently, only the Valley of the Kings west of
A special lighting system will be installed, the nearby roads will be paved and there will also be parking lots for tour buses as well as a first-aid and police complex.
The biggest problem, however, is that in taking this dramatic step, the authorities have in one fell swoop eliminated one of the most eye-catching aspects of the pyramids – the rolling desert that stretched out to the horizon from the pyramids and the sphinx.
But that, as they say, is probably the price of progress.
by Brian Salter