A replica of the mask of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun
Cairo - AFP
The tomb of legendary boy pharaoh Tutankhamun in Egypt's Valley of the Kings will close from October for restorations, the antiquities ministry said Sunday.
The pharaoh, who died aged 19 in 1324 BC after a reign of nine years, is best known for the treasures found in his burial chamber, which include an 11-kilogram (25-pound) solid gold funerary mask incrusted with lapis lazuli and semi-precious stones.
The authorities have decided to restore the tomb, discovered near the southern city of Luxor in 1922 by British archeologist Howard Carter, to "preserve it and protect it" as it is "one of Egypt's most important archeological sites", Antiquities Minister Mamduh al-Damati said in a statement.
"King Tutankhamun's mummy will be transferred to a secondary tomb chamber to protect it," ministry official Mohamed Afifi said.
It was not clear how long the restoration works, which include giving the tomb a new floor, would last.
In January, Tutankhamun's golden mask made headlines after a "botched" repair that left a crust of dried glue on the priceless relic at Cairo's Egyptian Museum. Workers at the museum had fixed the mask's beard in place after it had fallen off.
Luxor, a city of half a million on the banks of the river Nile, is an open-air museum abounding with temples and tombs from ancient Egypt.