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The BBC's Cece Leadon
"Divers will be able to visit the site"
 real 56k

Sunday, 24 September, 2000, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
Egypt opens up marine treasures
View of Alexandria
Alexandria is trying to put itself back on the tourist map
By Caroline Hawley in Cairo

Officials in Egypt say they have agreed to allow tourists to visit newly discovered underwater archaeological sites in Alexandria.

The head of the city's Marine Archaeology Department, Ibrahim Darwish, told the BBC the decision was part of wider efforts to attract visitors to Alexandria.

Over the past few years archaeologists working the seas off Alexandria have begun to reveal the lost remains of one of history's greatest ancient cities - now a crowded modern town.

Alexandria
Ambitious plans to establish the world's first underwater museum have not so far materialised, but officials now say that from October divers will be allowed to visit the site where marine archaeologists in 1996 found the ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse - one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Permission to visit other sites should follow.

Cleopatra's palace

About a year from now, officials say, divers will be able to see the submerged royal quarters where Cleopatra was thought to have had a palace. Pavements, statues and granite columns were found there in 1998.

Abu Kir shipwreck
The sea off Alexandria is full of historic treasures
Then there is the latest find, announced this summer: the ruins of an entire city called Herakleion dating back to more than 2,500 years.

The discoveries have been a major boost to efforts to revive a somewhat shabby modern Alexandria.

A huge library modelled on the famous ancient Greek Bibliotecha Alexandrina is also under construction.

The hope is to put the city, known as the Bride of the Mediterranean, back in the limelight after decades of neglect.

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03 Jun 00 | Middle East
Divers find Pharaohs' lost city
28 Mar 00 | Middle East
Egypt's treasures in danger
01 Aug 00 | Sci/Tech
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