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25 February 2024

Egypt rescues 2,000-year old catacombs from rising water

Photo: AFP


Egypt on Sunday announced the completion of a project to save famed 2,000-year old catacombs in the costal city of Alexandria from rising waters.

The Kom al-Shoqafa location, considered by archaeologists to be the largest Greco-Roman burial site in Egypt, has been threatened by water since its discovery in 1900.

The catacombs, which were in use from the first to the fourth century AD, are renowned for funerary architecture blending ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman art.

The rising water prompted Egypt to launch a massive drainage project supported by the United States Agency for International (USAID) in 2017.

Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani told reporters at the site that the programme had helped "end a problem threatening the area for more than 100 years".

Thomas Nichols, an engineer involved in the project, called it "a unique programme where we blended archaeology and civil engineering together".

Egypt has in recent years sought to promote archaeological discoveries across the country in a bid to revive tourism hit by the turmoil that followed its 2011 uprising.