February 15, 1996
Web posted at: 7:30 a.m. EST (1230 GMT)
From Correspondent Gayle Young
DASHUR, Egypt (CNN) -- In Egypt's pyramid-studded landscape, there is a new gem on the tourist horizon: A plateau of giant pyramids which will soon be open to visitors for the first time.
"I call it really the site of the forgotten pyramids, the site of forgotten Pharaohs because people really don't know about it," says Zahi Hawass, who's the director of the pyramids site.
Some 3,000 tourists visit the great pyramids of Giza every day, increasing the wear and tear on the world-famous monuments.
Archeologists now hope to deflect some of that enthusiasm to a set of pyramids on a former military site at Dashur, not far from the famed tombs of Giza. The military camp was established at the base of the 343-foot-high red pyramid during the height of Middle East tensions, and had been closed to the public for decades. Now that the region has become increasingly stable, the camp has been moved further out into the desert.
Built by the father of the Pharaoh Cheops whose pyramid in Giza is the largest and best known in the world, the red tomb is the second largest of Egypt's 97 known pyramids.
A maze of tombs surround the site and archeologists say that while most artifacts have been looted over the centuries, there are still probably some mummies concealed beneath the sands of time.
Hawass says he thinks visitors are always fascinated by pyramids. "No one will get tired of pyramids," he says. "Pyramids are pyramids. Pyramids are magic and mystery."
The Egyptian museum is now displaying a cache of jewelry recently found at a tomb near one of the pyramids.
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