Following years of restoration and development, the Marina el-Alamein archaeological site on the north coast, will be opened in mid-September.
Minister of Culture, Farouk Honsy, announced the projected opening tuesday and he added that a high tech lighting system had been installed through the entire site, which would permit visitors to view el-Alamein in the evening.
Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), said that the site include Roman villas and baths, as well as Greco-Roman markets, remains of a church, tombs, streets and a Roman theatre.
Hawass continued that the site of el-Alamein was once the most important and well-known port during the Greco-Roman era and it is the first archaeological site on the north coast to be developed as a tourist friendly site.
Dr. Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, Head of the Central Administration of Lower Egypt, said that the entrance fee for the site will be 5LE for Egyptians and 2,50LE for Egyptian students in order to encourage local tourism. He added that the site is capable of hosting visitors at day and night, which is very unique. Abdel Maqsoud explained that the Graeco-Roman name of el-Alamein was “Locasiss,” which means “the white shell.” It got this name because of the softness and the white colour of its sand. The goddess of love, Aphrodite, was worshipped there and the statues found of her on the site show her emerging from a white shell, in reference to its name. Abdel Maqsoud added that the entire site of Mina el-Alamein had been redone as part of the SCA’s plan to develop archaeological sites along Egypt’s Mediterranean coast.
Dr. Sabri Abdel Aziz, Head of the Ancient Egyptian Department, said that Marina el-Alamein is the largest archaeological site on the north coast and stretches a length of 189 feddans. Over the last ten years, the SCA has carried out several excavations at the site, in addition to restoration and conservation projects with the collaboration of the Polish Archaeological Institute in Cairo and the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE).