Beginning October 20, Egyptian audiences will be treated to a new programme on Egyptian archaeology hosted by former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass, titled "Kashef Al-Asrar" (Revealer of Secrets). In collaboration with renowned Egyptologists, the programme will launch on Egyptian satellite channel Al-Ghad.
At a press conference held on Wednesday at a luxurious hotel on the banks of the Nile in Cairo, Abdel Latif El-Manawi, head of Al-Ghad channel, told attendees that the programme will broadcast first to the Arab region, before being launched abroad.
El-Manawi describes the programme as an effort to raise cultural awareness in Egypt, as well as promote the country abroad, encouraging tourism by displaying its distinguished heritage and the customs and traditions of ancient Egyptians—industry, fashion, and cultivation systems, to name a few.
Hawass tells Ahram Online that the idea of the programme is to link several topics from ancient Egyptian civilisation to the present time, showing the evolution of cultural practices.
For example, he continues, if an episode covers customs of fashion and jewellery, the first segment will show how the ancient Egyptians dressed while the second gives insight into the world of contemporary Egyptian fashion, with input from well-known Egyptian designers.
“I've had the idea for such a programme in mind for many years, but due to the high budget required, I kept the idea dormant,” Hawass says, adding that in 2007 the required budget for such a programme was EGP 11 million. Ultimately El-Manawi was the only producer able to bring the dream to life on almost half the budget.
The logo of the programme
Eight episodes have been shot so far, by the talented Italian director Sandro Vanini, with more to come.
“The first episode of the programme is to be on the treasure of the boy king Tutankhamun,” he says, while another explores the identities of figures like the Exodus pharaoh, Abraham and Joseph.
If the programme is well received, Hawass says he'd like to expand it, producing a second, third and fourth part on the Coptic and Islamic civilisations as well as the civilisations of other Arab countries such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Jordan.
There's a lot here for audiences to discover. For example, Hawass notes, Madaan Saleh area is a very important archaeological site in the desert of the Saudi Arabia, which most people know very little about.
Wednesday's press conference was attended by a number of renowned archaeologists, writers and journalists such as writers Salah Montaser and Abas Al-Tarabili as well as poet Mohamed Baghdadi.