The first meeting between the Egyptian archaeologist ‘Zahi Hawas’ and an antique was like a lover’s encounter with his eternal love. His passion for the pharaohs made him reach the hearts of people all over the world. When he gives a lecture in any country, you find that the lecture is sold by hundreds of dollars, two hours only after being opened.
‘Zahi Hawas’ is the most famous Egyptian archaeologist, who did not have monuments as his first passion since childhood. He wished to be a lawyer, but he left the Faculty of Law and joined the Greek and Roman Archeology Department. He finished his studies at the age of 19. Hawas was not attracted by antiquities, so, he decided to work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and he failed. Therefore, he returned to antiquities in spite of his will. He was sent to do excavations. During his work, he found a statue and began to clean it. When he looked into its eyes, he screamed with a loud voice: “I found my first and last love”. ‘Al Bawaba’ meets with the lover of Egyptian civilization.
Hawas’ hat is displayed in world museums and sold at $75 per one
“Giza and Pyramids” is his latest book, in collaboration with famous British archaeologist
American child asks Hawas to take care of “Sphinx”
“Ignoramuses” only accuse Pyramids’ lovers with freemasonry
Hawas’ Prescription Hawas to propagate for Egyptian tourism around world
What is the secret behind your hat, which is hanged in a European museum and which gained world fame?
When I traveled to Los Angeles, I went to a shop and I was wearing a peasant’s hat. I did not like it. I found this Australian hat and liked it. And because I wear it in all my archeological discoveries, it became famous everywhere all over the world. In 2010, the Child Museum was built, and this was supervised by Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak. She invited me to help in the construction of this museum. At the same time, a foreign company contacted me to agree to make copies of my hat for sale. My only condition was that the returns from the hat’s sale would be transferred to the Child Museum. We obtained revenues of thousands of dollars, thanks to the hat! In 2010, another company contacted me to make copies of the clothes I put on during excavations, for sale also. I agreed, on the condition that the returns would be for Children’s Cancer Hospital. Unfortunately, some of my opponents caused a lot of disruption. But now, this hat is designed and sold by another company for $ 75 each. Inside every hat, there is a photo of mine, signed by me. The returns of this project go to the Cancer Hospital in Luxor.
Why are you concerned with the correspondences and messages of children around the world, which take time to answer?
Few minutes before our interview, an American child sent me a message, telling: “I’ve seen a movie about the Sphinx, while you were talking about the water under it. I’m so happy, and I would like to tell you that this statue is very important and must be cared for.” This is in addition to other hundreds and thousands of correspondences from children all over the world. The amazing thing is that when you talk to anyone around the world and tell them that you are an Egyptian, they will tell you that they know about the Pharaonic civilization and talk to you about the Sphinx, mummies, Tutankhamun and the Pyramids. The whole world is interested in Egyptian civilization. And because the world’s children are captivated by the Egyptian civilization, I published two books this week, through ‘Nahdet Misr’ for Publishing and Printing Company, for Egyptian children. One of the books is in Arabic and the other in English, about ‘Tutankhamun’. I also released 17 books for children in different languages, as a contribution to introduce our ancient civilization.
What is the greatest era in the Pharaohs history?
I always say that the fourth family in the old State is the best era. I am a specialist in this time phase in which, the Pyramid was built, the greatest architectural building in history. And always when someone asks me about the king I like to be like, I immediately say King ‘Khufu’. Through my studies of the pyramid, and PhD thesis, which was about “Giza”, I consider that this period is the golden age of Egypt. Next week, I will be publishing a book with the archaeologist ‘Mark Lerner’, entitled “Giza and the Pyramids”. It is published by a British company. In the book, we talk about Giza and this great historical period. I hope that the National Center for Translation in Cairo will translate this book because it is of high importance. Earlier, I wrote an equally important book entitled “Treasures of the Pyramids”, which is the most important book on the pyramids.
There are many myths about Egyptian civilization. So, is there something known as the “Pharaohs’ curse”?
Curse of the Pharaohs is a rumor that spread when ‘Carter’ discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun. Lord ‘Carnarvon’ died after five months of the discovery. Then, a lot of rumors spread about the ancient Egyptian civilization. Lord ‘Carnarvon’ granted the discovery right to ‘London Times’, which was the only body that had the right to write about the cemetery, excluding other newspapers. Hence, the word ‘curse of the Pharaohs’ appeared. After this, many stories about the antiquities of Egypt were heard. But in fact, if you open a cemetery that has a mummy of five thousand years old, it is normal for the mummy to emanate invisible bacteria that may cause death, so, it may be said that the death cause is the curse of the Pharaohs. But the truth is that there is no the so-called “curse of the Pharaohs”. There were already many incidents that were attributed to this “curse”. For example, the German man who wrote a book about the curse of the Pharaohs, said: ”I met Dr. Gamal Mehrez and asked him: “do you believe in the curse of the Pharaohs?” he said: “No! I discovered various cemeteries and examined a lot of mummies and I am very well.” On the next day, it was said that Dr. Mehrez died.” In fact, Dr. Gamal Mehrez was a professor of Islamic archeology. He was sick, but his death coincided with the mention of the pharaohs’ curse. From here, the author of the book became convinced of the curse of the pharaohs!
Some believe that the mask of King Tut gives positive energy, what is your comment?
These are just beliefs. People think that Egyptian temples and museums give energy, which shows the greatness of Egyptian civilization. Some say that tourists pray in the pyramid and this is not true. This is meditation, which separate them from the world, not prayers. Such meditation helps them think well. We call them the “slaves of the pyramid” and this is a mistake; because they do not pray inside the pyramid and do not worship it; rather, they meditate inside it. This is a very important tourism that we must all preserve and consider as one of the key types of tourism in Egypt because those people will come to visit Egypt and its touristic attractions, whatever happens.
But some say that tourists hold freemasonry and Satan worship rituals.
Those people are not aware of the nature of what happens. What tourists do inside the pyramid has nothing to do with these sayings. No one does rituals. It is all about meditation, no prayers, no religious rites. Those who claim this follow the attack way just for the sake of attack.
Are there secret rooms inside the pyramid to be revealed?
I think so. The whole world thinks so and talks about the secret rooms inside the pyramid. There is a French team with Dr. Hani Hilal that is carrying out rays imaging inside the pyramid to detect the secret rooms. We must be aware that this pyramid was built on a rock base, and above the pyramid, big and small rocks were placed. So, there are spaces everywhere in the pyramid. But this does not necessarily mean the existence of secret chambers inside it. We discovered three doors inside the pyramid, including two with copper handles. These doors are the thing that must be searched behind, because they could be of important significance.
Does the same apply to the graves of the Valley of Kings and Queens? And are there tombs not yet discovered?
Indeed, this great valley still has the tomb of King ‘Amenhotep I’, King ‘Tuthmosis II’ and King ‘Ramses VIII’, in addition to all queens of Egypt who were buried in the Valley of Kings. I believe that this great valley still has a lot of secrets. The queens’ tombs were buried somewhere that is unknown. Searching in this valley may show many things that we are not aware of and which are not discovered yet. There is a team working under my command that is conducting a full radar survey of the valley. We hope to have good results for new archaeological tombs after this survey.
What are the archaeological sites you recommend for foreign tourists who visit Egypt for the first time?
I have a book called “Zahi Hawas and Secrets of Egypt”. In the book, I say that Egypt can be visited 11 times. And every time, you will see new things. We have Kharga, Dakhla and Siwa oases, the pyramids in Abu Rawash, Al Lasht, Al Qasir, next to Luxor, Cap region, and many important places in Luxor. Visitors focus only on the journey from Luxor to Aswan, Valley of the Kings, the pyramid and the Egyptian Museum. But ‘Saqqara’, for example, did not receive its fair share, although it has the most important archeological site in Egypt.
How can Egyptian tourism be propagated for?
Firstly, the archeological discoveries, led by the current Minister of Antiquities, Dr. Khaled Al Anani, are so important for promoting tourism. Secondly, the exhibitions of Egyptian antiquities abroad, especially King Tut, are of significance too. If King Tut travels to the world, he will achieve echoing promotion. Thirdly, the Ministry of Tourism must send a number of tourist convoys that market for Egypt’s image and show the world that Egypt is safe and ready to receive tourists from all over the world. It is not logical that Egypt is so magnificently beautiful, while tourism movement is motionless. Over the past period, I dealt with a tourist company that got my name and carried out tourism propaganda in Egypt. Accordingly, more than 4,000 American tourists came to Egypt on my behalf and Mrs. Jehan Sadat, the widow of late Egyptian President ‘Anwar Sadat’. I hope there will be a greater propagation for Egyptian tourism, because Egypt is already a secure and safe country. The best thing President Abdelfattah Sisi did was the restoration of security that must be translated to the world; so that tourism can return to Egypt.
How the impact of Egyptian civilization is reflected on the world?
There is a kind of infatuation among tourists with Egypt. For example, there is a town between ‘Napoli’ and ‘Rome’ that has a full temple for ‘Isis’. The whole world was and still is influenced by the Egyptian civilization, where they build houses in the form of a pyramid and statues of the Sphinx everywhere. The restaurants are constructed as the pyramids, as in the case of some restaurants in ‘Las Vegas’, as well as erecting a statue of Sphinx in China. Here, we find the idea of simulation that demonstrates the world’s love of the Pharaohs. And if you mention the pyramids, Sphinx or Tutankhamun in any country, this will be attached to Egypt. There is no country in the world that has a civilization like ours, the civilization which is admired by all peoples of the world and has an impact everywhere.