National Heritage Preservation: A Timeless Key to Egypt’s National Success

In class on Tuesday, we discussed what my brain rearranged into the birth and rise of tourism in Egypt on a domestic and international level. Since this boom of interest in ancient Egypt in the 19th century, numerous conflicts have arisen, but preservation for the sake of pride and national benefit still maintains a huge role in the life of Egyptians today.

One of Egypt’s national heroes, August Mariette planted a seed into the Egyptian culture that has since held an incredible importance in the nation. After his somewhat controversial discovery of the Serapeum at Saqqara, Mariette was given the power to influence the government in regards to future excavations and etc. of Egypt by foreign Egyptologists. Because of his thoughts and respect for the national heritage of Egypt, the nation has been able to use its own history in a way that brings pride to its people while benefiting the country on an international level. With that, there came a rapid growth of national interest in preserving the country’s history by implementing laws regarding all Egyptian antiquities and using them for a booming tourism industry.

Now, in the height of Egypt’s political and economic turmoil, tourism is still referred to as the key to bring the country out of its slump. Regardless of the events taking place there everyday, a respected significance is still held throughout Egypt when discussing historical preservation and the re-growth of the tourism industry. In fact, today Egypt reopened the Serapeum at Saqqara after 11 long years of renovation. To protect the necropolis, Egyptians shut down the attraction due to earth movement and water damage hoping to one day reopen. And in a successful effort to conserve the Serapeum,the Egyptians have done it. The site in spite of the craziness Egypt is battling everyday, their citizens still find importance of national heritage preservation as it was first introduced and stressed by hero August Mariette.


1 thought on “National Heritage Preservation: A Timeless Key to Egypt’s National Success

  1. Everybody seems to want a piece of Egypt. Even in times which seem unsuitable, the allure of ancient history is still prevalent. I would have to agree that tourism is what brings a lot of people into Egypt. This is an important point, to reiterate that ancient antiquities belong in the country of their origin. I am in full agreement that Auguste Mariette was one of the leaders in the conservation of ancient Egyptian history and culture, including material artifacts. He was one to help gain funds to create the museum in Cairo, which curbed the illegal trade of artifacts around the world. This brings me to the point of the rise of the antiquarian, where we discussed in class the “rape of Egypt”. Before more strict laws were in place, “protoscholars”, which we defined as anyone who is involved in production (excavation) and selling of artifacts, the Egyptian government allowed almost anyone to take material artifacts out of Egypt. At the British museum, the core of the first collection of ancient artifacts came from a doctor’s personal collection taken from Egypt. Now, thanks to Auguste Mariette, the cultural heritage laws set in place allow Egypt to keep what is rightfully theirs.

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