Last week, the United States Embassy in Egypt sent out a warning that all American visitors should take extra care around the historic and well-traveled Giza Pyramids. Now, Egyptian officials claim the embassy’s warning is baseless, and that American tourists have no reason to be afraid when visiting the 4,500-year-old wonders of the world.
Egypt’s Ahram Online reports that Antiquities Minister Ahmed Eissa called the U.S. Embassy’s alert “baseless” and said American visitors should not be afraid to visit the Giza Pyramids at night or any other time. Eissa also said the tourism police have not received any complaints from Americans about dangerous conditions near the pyramids.
The embassy first sent out its warning last week, asking American visitors to exercise extreme caution around the pyramids at Giza, outside Cairo. The statement warned that American visitors could become victims of violence or robberies if they hang around the pyramids or other areas at the wrong times.
"U.S. citizens should elevate their situational awareness when traveling to the Pyramids, avoid any late evening or night travel, utilize a recommended or trusted guide, and closely guard valuables," the embassy in Cairo said.
The U.S. Embassy also told American travelers to avoid any “areas where large gatherings may occur” in order to stay away from potentially harmful situations.
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“Tahrir Square and the Sadat Metro stop remain off-limits to embassy personnel,” the embassy wrote. “Additionally, Simon Bolivar Square is also an area that receives little, if any, direct police coverage and has been an area frequented by gangs who throw rocks or molotovs at police beyond the barricades, vandalize property in the square, or target individuals for robbery.”
USA Today reports that vendors near the pyramids, located about an hour from downtown Cairo, have grown more hostile since the 2011 revolution. Vendors have reportedly attempted to open car doors and frighten American tourists.
"It's a new level of frightening," Graham Harman, associate provost for research administration and professor of philosophy at the American University in Cairo, told USA Today. “People were much more aggressive.”