CAIRO — Egypt celebrated the reopening of the Avenue of the Sphinxes Tuesday, a 3,000-year-old royal boulevard bordering the crossroads of Giza that has been a security concern during a tourist boom fueled by Donald Trump’s visit last year.
But the museum has also faced criticism from Italian art and heritage experts, who believe that the building has continued to be threatened by the demands of modern-day security measures. They say plaster used to repair a cracked monument in September 2016, that had been exposed to extreme heat, overheating and rainfall, left shards of plaster exposed on site, proving their fears.
Egypt unveiled restored monuments and a section of the newest tower Tuesday to mark the reopening, accompanied by a ceremony led by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. The bronze and marble scaffolding that blanketed the surface of the Renaissance-style crenellated avenue for three years to patch the remaining gaps in the nave collapsed without a trace during the ceremony.
There were no reports of any injuries among the dignitaries, who included government officials, military officers and hundreds of tourists and local residents, as the festivities went on in the street in front of the site.
The restoration project, with an estimated cost of 35 million Egyptian pounds (about $1.8 million), was carried out by a consortium of French, Italian and Egyptian firms, said Dr. Abu al-Mohammad el-Amir, the project director.
Much of the restoration work focused on fixing damage to the east end of the Old Valley Archaeological Mall, which was at the center of world attention during the 2016 visit of President Trump, who boasted about the pyramids that are within the site, saying “they are like 200 feet high.”
El-Amir said the team concluded the restoration of 14 minor landmarks. But the section of the Olive Grove, an extension of the main Mall, is still under restoration, which El-Amir said would be completed in October.
Some of the icons of the complex dating to medieval and Crusader times were used to cover the scaffolding on the Avenue of the Sphinxes, using stones to form the shape of a traditional Egyptian shepherd’s hat. The Egyptians say such “muezzins” represent the pillars of “troublemaking” pharaohs.