The wind-swept pyramids of Giza were virtually deserted Sunday, symbols not just of the might and culture of the pharaohs but also the damage that Egypt's upheaval has inflicted on tourism, a pillar of the economy.

Just two dozen foreign tourists were seen by midday at the wondrous monuments, where thousands flocked daily before protesters launched an uprising in late January that toppled the president. Camels-for-hire stood in the sand, bereft of riders. Subdued vendors clung to their postcards and tiny pyramid sculptures.

Military-ruled Egypt is largely calm for now, despite a surge in labor protests after the Feb. 11 ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. But the nation is as fragile as it is hopeful, and fear of a backslide into chaos is likely to deter many visitors in the short term, even as the caretaker government and homegrown Facebook campaigns declare that Egypt is safe for tourism.

Antiquities officials tried to kickstart an industry that employs as many as 2 million Egyptians, saying all Pharaonic, Coptic, Islamic and modern sites reopened Sunday. Six museums in Cairo, and Luxor and Aswan on the Nile river, also reopened, and other museums plan to do the same soon. 

Source: USA Today