Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled el-Enani, reopened on Sunday Wakalat al-Jiddawi, a two-storey building that used to function as a caravanserai during the 18th century in the southern city of Esna, after its restoration.
The restoration of the building was financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Accompanying the minister during the reopening of the building were US Ambassador in Cairo Jonathan R. Cohen and Luxor Governor Mustafa Alham.
Minister el-Enani said he was happy to be present in Esna to reopen Wakalat al-Jiddawi after the completion of restoration works in it.
“The restoration of the building took two years of hard work,” the minister said.
The restoration, he added, brought the building back to its former charm.
He said his ministry works hard to preserve Egypt’s archaeological and cultural heritage and develop tourist potentials nationwide.
In Esna, Minister el-Enani said, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities works to open new tourist attractions on the road to placing the city on the tourism map.
“We also work to bring activity to the movement of incoming tourism, and raise tourism and archaeological awareness to create opportunities,” the minister said.
The minister of tourism praised co-operation with the US, describing it as ‘fruitful’.
This co-operation, he said, was especially felt in the tourism sector.
Minister el-Enani described the US as a main partner for his ministry.
“A large number of American archaeological missions work in Egypt in the field of archaeological excavations and restoration,” the minister said.
He referred to the Chicago House Institute in Luxor and the American Research Institute in Cairo.
The minister noted that this is not the first time USAID participates in the restoration of ancient sites in Egypt in co-operation with his ministry.
He said the agency participated in restoration works in Luxor, Aswan, Karnak, Giza, Cairo and Alexandria before.
Minister el-Enani revealed that entrance into the restored Wakalat al-Jiddawi would be free of charge.
This measure, he said, aims to stimulate visits to the historical building.