Saturday, April 18, 2015


ON World Heritage Day April 18th we mourn the irresponsible destruction of Greco-Roman ruins in the city of Alexandria this week ... structures overlooking the shorline which Antinous may have seen when he visited the city in 130 AD.

Over the frantic protests of archaeologists, Egyptian officials sent in bulldozers which crushed 2,300-year-old ruins and left behind a level plot of land for developers.

The site of Al-Abd Theater in Camp Shizar, which was discovered in 2013, dates back to the Roman and Hellenistic eras as far back as 323 BC and lies in a residential neighborhood just a block inland from the Mediterranean coast.

When it was unearthed in 2013, experts marveled at the two-story TOMBS WITH A VIEW of the harbour and fabled Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Alexandria Antiquities Director Mostafa Roshdy said the site was demolished after residents complained it threatened the architectural stability of the adjacent buildings. 

“The technical report said the depth of the excavations threaten the surrounding buildings and recommended to close the site,” he told newspaper Youm7.

But Egypt's Heritage Task Force said the Antiquities Ministry had caved in to pressure from contractors who wanted to build on the high-profile site overlooking the sea.

The task force, who campaigned unsuccessfully to save the site, posted photos of the site before and after it was destroyed.

The demolition of the archaeological site demonstrates the difficulty of governmental authorities to both appease locals and responsibly manage the country's rich archaeological history with limited resources. 

Archaeological sites across Egypt also face looters, in addition to restoration and maintenance issues related to lack of funding.

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