A large renovation and restoration project is currently underway in Luxor, home to Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. Golf courses, five-star hotels, and an IMAX theater will appear in the city and lights will flood the Valley of the Kings by 2030. The Supreme Council of Antiquities is also working to restore the sphinxes along the way between the Karnak and Luxor Temples.
Many, however, including residents, architects, and archaeologists, are not happy with the project. Very few are openly vocal for fear of the consequences from the government, such as imprisonment or cuts in funding. “They want it to be all asphalt and strip malls and shopping centers. That’s their idea of modern and progressive,” said one resident. “Many buildings from many different periods have been erased, or will be, and I think that’s entirely negative,” added an architect who works on Egyptian heritage projects. “At the end of the day, you’re left with a kind of Disneyland piece of pseudo-pharaonic stuff, and the rest of it is swept away.”
Some homeowners in the area are prepared to take a stand. “They do what they want, we do what we want,” said a resident of Maris. “We will beat and be beaten, we will kill and be killed. After we die they can take our homes.” Despite this and other requests to halt the project, Farang remains seemingly unconcerned about the opposition. “Just a few people, maybe I removed their houses or something like that, they want to criticize,” he said. “We’re talking about destruction for the public good. There are victims for every development.”