Naked At The Pyramids

topic posted Mon, July 14, 2008 - 6:34 PM by  Phoenix Faust
Some of the world's great attractions never quite live up to expectations.

The Pyramids of Giza do.

The last of the Seven Wonders of the World to still be standing, the pyramids generate obsessive fervor among archaeologists, Egyptologists, Aliens-built-the-pyramid fanatics, historians, kids, climbers, and just about anyone with a fascination for the world.

The pyramids attract all kinds. Some visitors pay big bucks to take part in wacky New Age spiritual tours where they can climb into the humid chambers to tap into their past lives.

Women who think they are the reincarnation of Queen Nefertiti join guys who think they are the reincarnation of Ramses II, or some other great Pharaoh. They come to Egypt so they can release their spirits and dip into the ancient knowledge collected at the pyramids.

They burn sage and close unseen portals to the netherworld so they can put restless spirits to rest. They take turns laying down in the ancient stone caskets and form meditation circles in the chambers.

One of the local guides who helps organize such tours told me over the weekend that one recent group reserved private time in the underground pyramid chambers so they could get naked for their ceremony.

One wonders if that's what the Pharaohs had in mind when they built the pyramids, but never mind.

If there is one name that is synonymous with the pyramids it is Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's modestly-titled Supreme Council of Antiquities, and his nation's best-known archaeologists.

Hawass is a man both feared and revered.

In 2006, he was named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world.

With his white hair and trademark Indiana Jones hat, Hawass is something of a gatekeeper to human history. He decides who can and can't work and what projects will go forward. He has made headlines for declaring that Egyptians are not Arab and not African. And he has led the charge for the return of Egypt's ancient looted treasures.

This past weekend, Hawass spent his days writing his latest book longhand (as he always does) on a yellow notepad, flying to Monte Carlo for a conference and meeting the newly-married sports legends Greg Norman and Chris Evert.

Luxor2 One of his biggest ongoing projects in Luxor is the recreation of the Avenue of Sphinxes that once joined the temples of Luxor and Karnak.

To recreate the avenue, Egypt is razing homes, moving mosques and demolishing schools.

Not unexpectedly, the project is drawing mixed reactions.

Though controversial, the avenue at night already offers a stunning sight...

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