Renowned Egyptian Egyptologist Zahi Hawass has been chosen by the Sicilian city of Noto to be granted its first-ever award for the world's most famous archaeologist.
A large award ceremony was held earlier this week and attended by the deputy mayor of Noto as well as 1,000 attendees, including a number of intellectuals and writers, in the city's opera hall.
The prize is an important award from one of the oldest Italian cities. The city of Noto dates back to the fourth century BC. In 1993, an earthquake destroyed most historic sites in the ancient city. In 2002, Noto and its church were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city's council of trustees, headed by the city’s mayor, who was unable to attend the ceremony because of illness, created the award dubbed “The Old City of Noto Prize.”
The deputy mayor said that Hawass has contributed to highlighting the significance of the archaelogical record of the Mediterranian countries through his archaeological programmes on world television, placing his name in the hearts of the world through the dissemination of culture and world heritage.
Hawass was awarded a map of the city on a plate detailing the history of the ancient city. The attendees called on Hawass to head an Egyptian-Italian archaeological mission uncover the historic parts of the city that were lost in the 1993 quake.
During the celebration, Hawass announced that all Italians are invited to visit Egypt.
He added that President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has given instructions to complete the new Grand Egyptian Museum in 2020.
Hawass also announced that Tutankhamun’s Opera should be completed by the end of May, affirming that it will intoxicate the world with its dramatic and musical plot.
“Culture brings people closer, and the pyramids, the Sphinx, Tutankhamun and the mummies have been able to restore love between Egyptians and Italians.”
It is worth mentioning that in 866 AD, Noto was conquered by the Arabs, who elevated the city to capital of one of the three districts of the island of the Val di Noto.
In 1091 AD, Noto became the last Islamic stronghold in Sicily to fall to the Europeans, and later became a wealthy Norman city.
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