Cultural Postcards + [Near East]

Heritage: Egypt's Marina El-Alamein to open in April
Marina Al-Alamein is a well-known summer resort on Egypt's north coast where holidaymakers can enjoy sun, sand and sea in the summertime.

Egypt's Marina El-Alamein to open in April
Reconstructed pillar-tombs in the town's necropolis [Credit:. Rafal Czerner]

Now, another tourist attraction can be added as the antiquities ministry has resumed restoration work at the archaeological site of Marina Al-Alamein, which was a major Graeco-Roman town and port known as Leucaspis 2000 years ago.

Leucaspis was probably destroyed by an earthquake in the late third century AD, but was partially inhabited again in the fifth and sixth centuries AD. A small basilica church uncovered in the eastern sector is considered to be the best evidence of this later occupation.

The recent site includes the remains of more than 50 different structures in the town and necropolis. A commercial quarter was also found as well as the town centre with its baths, markets and a civic basilica.

Egypt's Marina El-Alamein to open in April
Mausoleum T21 after restoration [Credit: Rafal Czerner]

In addition to the restoration of some of the authentic buildings and columns found, a new parking lot for tourists is to be established and the existing mounds located next to the site entrance will be relocated and reshaped into a panoramic hill. The tourist itinerary will be updated and a trial run of the tourist walk traced in the field. Completion of the site presentation project together with signage and lighting on site and a tourist guidebook in English will be also among the development works.

The Polish Archaeological Institute in Cairo and the American Research Center in Egypt carried out excavation and restoration works since the 1980s when Egypt's government started development of the north coast and archaeological traces appeared during construction.

Egypt's Marina El-Alamein to open in April
Southern baths, general view (latrine 12 and courtyard 4) after conservation 
[Credit: Rafal Czerner]

The Polish excavations yielded a vast collection of findings, including lamps, glass vessels and pottery from Cyprus, the Aegean, Asia Minor and Italy. Several sculptures were also found and among the most remarkable discoveries were a lead coffin and mummies in one of the side chambers of a tomb.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty gave the go-ahead for the restoration and development work yesterday during his inspection tour around the site. He promised to officially inaugurate the site in April.

Author: Nevine El-Aref | Source: Ahram Online [September 16, 2014]