The Hungarian researchers who have been working on excavations in Egypt for several generations have gained recognition for Hungarian archeology as a whole, President János Áder told journalists on Saturday, visiting the location of the excavation of the Theban Necropolis.
Hungarian archeologists have been conducting excavations in Egypt since 1907 and have been continuously present at the site of the ancient city of Thebes, one of the world’s largest archeological areas, located near Luxor, since 1983, he said. Áder is the first Hungarian president visiting the location of Hungarian archeological excavations in Egypt.
Hungarian archeology is present in the necropolis with three missions, said Tamás Bács, head of excavation, from the Department of Egyptology of Eötvös Loránd University. For the past thirty years, they have been working on excavating a painted tomb from the New Kingdom of Egypt, revealing the treasures of the least known era, he said. He noted that their results had been presented at an exhibition by the Egyptian Museum in 2009.
The president met Coptic Christian church leaders in Egypt on the first Sunday of advent. During his talks with Bishop Silvanus, the head of the St. Pachomius monastery of Luxor, Ader discussed the persecution of Christians and the situation of Coptic Christians in Egypt.
“Christians have to suffer because of their faith in many parts of the world,” Áder told journalists after the meeting, adding that in recent years “we have put our heads in the sand, pretending that the problem is non-existent”. Egypt was only ruled by radical Islamists for one year, between 2012 and 2013, but more than 80 Coptic Christian churches were set on fire or blown up during that time, the president said. It demonstrates the strength of the Coptic community that the past seven years have been enough to rebuild all these churches, Áder said, noting that Egypt’s current president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi provides protection to members of the Coptic community. He has helped rebuild the destroyed churches and is the first of Egypt’s presidents to celebrate with the Christian community every Christmas since his election, he added. Egyptians are also grateful for the assistance given by the Hungarian state to the families of the victims of the bloody terror attack of 2016, Áder said.