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Saturday, 1 January, 2000, 01:20 GMT
Egypt celebrates seventh millennium
A dramatic sound and light show heralded the new millennium
The Pyramids of Giza provided the dramatic backdrop for Egypt's main millennium celebrations with a concert and laser spectacular performed by French showman, Jean Michel Jarre.

Thousands of millennium party-goers travelled to Egypt from around the world to attend the celebrations in a country entering its seventh millennium of recorded history.

About 50,000 people packed into the desert area around the Pyramids - amongst them, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

The specially composed show, entitled "Twelve Dreams of the Sun" included three hours of song, dance and music featuring 1,000 performers.

"The feeling is superb," said reveller Jason Oliver from England. "It's quiet surreal - the music and the backdrop. I've been to many festivals but this is very special with the pyramids as a backdrop."

Singing legend

Tight security surrounded the concert
Members of the audience paid between $400 for a seat at a dinning table in specially-catered marquees, and $14 for a standing-room only place.

One of the most popular pieces was a recording of a song performed by the legendary singer Umm Kalthoum, who died in 1975 but remains one of most widely played performers in the Arab world.

Tight security surrounded the event following a series of terrorist attacks in recent years that have badly damaged Egypt's image abroad. No trouble was reported.

Indeed, the only problem was thick fog that obscured two of the three pyramids which were being used as a giant projection screens for the light show.

But for Egyptian television viewers watching the concert at home, the event was somewhat marred by a commercial break just minutes before the climactic midnight celebrations.

See also:

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