The Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Anany visited the archaeological site of Abu Mena in the Burj al-Arab area in Alexandria, on Saturday, to inspect the project to lower the groundwater level, restoration and development work being carried out at the site.
The tour included an inspection of the archaeological area and the elements of the project to reduce the groundwater level, which are represented in water withdrawal pumps, manholes, parcel lines and water collection drains.
During the tour, Anany praised the work carried out in the project to reduce the level of groundwater at the site, which is one of the most important projects carried out by the ministry represented by the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
This is in addition to the implementation of the project to restore it and develop the general site as a whole.
The Ministry is also working on completing the procedures for submitting a request to remove the site from the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger, 21 years after it was placed on this list due to the high level of groundwater.
During the tour, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities directed the necessity of completing all development work for the area as a whole and reassembling the columns, parts and archaeological findings of the basilica on the site to restore and reinstall them in their original location.
Father Thaddeus Ava-Mina, the Archeology Officer at the Abu Mena Monastery, expressed his full appreciation for the existing cooperation between the ministry and the monastery, praising the ministry’s role in preserving Egyptian archaeological sites in all eras, and thanking the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities for the effort exerted by the ministry represented by the Supreme Council of Antiquities on this important project.
The project to reduce the groundwater level at the archaeological site of Abu Mena began in 2019, with self-financing from the Supreme Council of Antiquities, at a cost of about LE 50 million.
All components of the project were completed and trial operation began in mid-November 2021, during which it was confirmed that the water level in the Abu Mena tomb area had significantly decreased.
The project includes the implementation of 12 wells around the tomb area with depths ranging from 35 to 50 meters, the implementation of 57 wells around the archaeological site as a whole, the extension of water expulsion lines to the area with a length of about 6,150 linear meters and the connection of the network of modern wells and all electromechanical works to the control system at the site, as well as monitoring the levels groundwater wells.
In February 2022, the Ministry provided UNESCO with a report on the state of preservation of the Abu Mena site, including the efforts undertaken by the Ministry in corrective measures at the site, in preparation for submitting an official request to remove it from the List of Heritage in Danger.
A statement by the ministry added that the conservation report included an explanation of the project to lower the groundwater level, an integrated management plan for the site for the first time since its inclusion on the World Heritage List in 1979, which included a proposal to ward off danger, modify the boundaries of the archaeological site, and a conservation and restoration plan.
The archaeological area of Abu Mena enjoys a great historical and archaeological position, as it dates back to between the fourth and sixth centuries AD, and gained its fame from the presence of the tomb of Saint Mina, and in the late fifth and first half of the sixth century AD it became one of the most important Christian pilgrimage centers in Egypt.