Google has taken us on virtual tours of ancient monuments in Mexico, India, Italy, Jordan — and now it’s Egypt’s turn for the panoramic treatment of archaeological sites. This week, Google unveiled Street View tours of the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, the Pyramid of Djoser and other historic hot spots. There’s also a virtual exhibit hall that offers pictures of ancient Egyptian treasures. “We hope you’ll take a moment to step back in time and explore what was once known as the Gift of the Nile,” Tarek Abdalla, Google’s head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, writes in a blog post.
If only it were that easy to spruce up the pyramids in real life: An advocacy group called Egypt’s Heritage Task Force charges that conservators are botching the restoration of the 4,600-year-old Pyramid of Djoser, a step pyramid that’s considered the world’s oldest stone structure of its size. In a report from The Guardian, Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty denies the allegations and says they’re politically motivated.