Egypt's Great Pyramid closed by 11.11.11 controversy

Egypt's Great Pyramids closed by 11.11.11 controversyPA

Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities made the decision to close the great pyramid of Khufu - also known as Cheops and the Giza complex's largest pyramid - to tourists after pressure from protest groups to seal off the area.

The council reportedly faced a backlash after a Polish numerologist group wanted to hold a ceremony at the famous site to protect the world from 'cosmic forces' threatening to destroy the planet next year.

The group, called Dar Swiatowida, believe that numbers have mystical properties, and that November 11, 2011 - 11/11/11 - is one of the most 'potent' days in the Earth's history. They also believe that the world will come to an end on December 12, 2012 - 12/12/12 - because it marks the end of 5,125-year cycle in the ancient Mayan calendar.

According to the Telegraph, they wanted to hold a 'Ceremony of Love' at the Great Pyramid, where 'two interpenetrated pyramid-shaped cystals' would be placed inside the building to give it extra powers, giving it the energy of all sacred sites around the world to 'create a shield between the planet and cosmic forces'.

But the superstitious nature of the whole ceremony didn't sit easily with conservative Egyptian locals, who started to believe rumours that 1,200 Jews were set to attend the ceremony and erect a Star of David above the Great Pyramid, claiming it was built by ancient Israelites rather than ancient Egyptians. There were also rumours of Masonic rites being held at the site.

The director of the complex, Ali al-Asfar, told Sky News: 'It has been a big cause now on Facebook and Twitter for many people to write about.'

In the end, the Supreme Council of Antiquities chose to close the popular tourist attraction for the day, citing 'maintenance' reasons.

The council's head Mustafa Amin said all reports of planned ceremonies at the site are 'completely lacking in truth'.

Around four million people visit the Pyramids of Giza every year.

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Egypt's Great Pyramid closed by 11.11.11 controversy
Cairo is a mass of contradictions: its ancient monuments and medieval customs thrive within a city that's modern and cosmopolitan yet polluted, overcrowded and chaotic. In the Islamic area, narrow cobbled streets are filled with donkey carts and spice sellers. Its central landmark is Midan Hussain square, where you'll find the famous Khan-el Khalili, one of the world's largest bazaars (get your bargaining head on!), jam-packed with all sorts of trinkets. The Citadel (home to Egyptian rulers for 700 years), is a must-see, and holds other attractions, including the Military National Museum and the Al-Gawhara Palace and Museum. Head to Giza for Cairo Zoo, and the upmarket island of Gezira for the Opera House and Museum of Modern Art. But, of course, Cairo's most famous sights are the Great Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities.

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Of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid of Giza is the only one to still exist. There's three ( Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus) and the tallest (Cheops) is 449ft high - truly awe-inspiring. You can even explore the inside through labyrinths and staircases. At the same site is the Sphinx (named by the Ancient Greeks), the amazing statue with the body of a woman and head of a lion. Top tips: early mornings and late afternoons are less crowded; be prepared for hawkers on camels trying to sell you souvenirs; and don't be surprised when you see a well-known fast food chain right by the ancient wonders!
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