Egypt's famous sites lit up in solidarity with China against COVID-19
CAIRO - Egypt lit up on Sunday evening three famous historical sites in the country, including Saladin Citadel in Cairo, in red and golden stars to resemble the national flag of China as a sign of solidarity in combating the novel coronavirus.
The other two sites are the main pylon of the Karnak Temple Complex in Luxor and the entrance of the Philae Temple Complex in Aswan.
The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has chosen the three most famous Egyptian monuments to express the appreciation of the distinguished ties between China and Egypt, said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.
"I have full confidence in China that it will overcome this epidemic very soon. All countries including Egypt back China wholeheartedly against the novel coronavirus," the Egyptian official told Xinhua on Sunday.
The three monuments have been illuminated in the evening at the same time, indicating a friendly attitude from Egyptians towards the Chinese people and a feeling of warmth and reassurance to the Chinese community living in Egypt.
Built more than 800 years ago, Saladin Citadel in Cairo, with its attractive domes and tall minarets, was all lit up in red and five golden stars, catching the eyes of car drivers and pedestrians in the surrounding areas.
A number of Chinese-speaking Egyptian tour guides gathered near the shining citadel and chanted remarks expressing support for the Chinese people against the virus and highlighting the friendly and historical relations between the two countries.
"I am confident that the Chinese people are able to overcome the current crisis," said Israa al-Sokkary, a Chinese-speaking Egyptian tour guide.
She said "I am looking forward to welcoming you to Egypt after the crisis is over. Don't give up China! Don't give up Wuhan!"
Meanwhile in Upper Egypt's Luxor, the main giant pylon of the Karnak Temple Complex was lit up, located behind an avenue of illuminating 40 sphinxes, 20 on each side, which looked like guards of the pylon.
"This simultaneous activity in three Egyptian provinces coincides with the Egyptian health minister's trip to Beijing to convey Egypt's solidarity with China and its people," said Mostafa al-Saghir, director-general of Karnak temples in Luxor.
"It also coincides with the presence of the members of the first Chinese archeological mission working in Egypt, who are now here and about to conclude their second season of working on the remains of Montu Temple," Saghir told Xinhua.
Luxor officials and residents, particularly those working in the tourism field, said that tourism in the monument-rich province was affected by the decline of Chinese tourists.
Luxor Governor Mostafa Alham said that his province lost about 70 percent of its tourists since COVID-19 was announced, noting that Chinese tourists used to visit Egypt throughout the whole year not only in the winter season.
"I hope that China will contain this crisis very soon and I am confident that it can do that," the Egyptian governor told Xinhua.
At the same time, the entrance of the Philae Temple Complex, the number one tourist destination in the southern province of Aswan, was also covered with the red and yellow lights shaping the flag of China with its stars.
Abdel-Moneim Saeed, director-general of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities, considered lighting up the temple complex with the colours of the Chinese flag as "a very good sign of support and solidarity with China."
"I believe it will also be appreciated by the Chinese tourists in the future after the coronavirus issue is over," Saeed said, noting that the site has been chosen for this activity due to its uniqueness, fame and popularity.
As for Saadallah Sayyid Ahmed, an owner of a cafeteria at the entrance of the Philae Temple Complex, he said illuminating the temple complex with the flag of China shows that Egypt supports China wholeheartedly in combating the virus."