From life-sized Pharaonic busts to finely painted copies of their treasured grave goods, Egypt has inaugurated a factory dedicated to making high-quality replicas of ancient Egyptian artifacts, available to tourists for purchase.
The 10,000 square meter "Konouz Factory" houses more than 150 skilled artists and conservators, and has so far produced more than 6,400 replicas made out of stone, wood, ceramic, and even gold and silver.
Among the factory's most expensive products are life-sized replicas of King Tutankhamun's ceremonial chair, valued at 140,000 LE (8,923 USD), as well as his gold-painted mask, costing up to 200,000 LE (12,748 USD).
Originally inaugurated in March of this year by the ministry of tourism and antiquities, the factory sits in Qalyubia Governorate's Obour city, about 35 kilometers northeast of the capital Cairo.
Many of the copies will be sold at Egypt's newly inaugurated Egyptian Museum of Civilization, which in April welcomed a convoy of 22 royal mummies in a grand parade attended by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and other officials.
Each replica will have a stamp from the High Council of Antiquities, as well as a certificate proving that it is an identical duplicate of the original artifact, said Technical Affairs Director Hani Ahmed.
The models will also have barcodes, which when scanned with a smartphone show information about the artifact, what it is made of, and where the original piece is exhibited.
Authorities have fired a pipeline of projects aimed at attracting tourism after the valuable sector and key source of foreign currency witnessed a painful blow after the pandemic, with revenues plunging by 70% in 2020.
Egypt has expressed optimism with regards to the sector's recovery, saying that tourist numbers have gradually increased since January of this year to around half a million tourists per month.