London, August 19 (ANI): Egypt's head of antiquities Zahi Hawass has warned that the tombs of the pharaohs in Valley of the Kings may disappear within 150 to 500 years if they remain open to tourists.
The Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, where Ancient Egypt's royalty was mummified, is home to the tombs of legendary pharaohs such as the boy king Tutenkhamun and Queen Nefertiti.
Hawass said that humidity and fungus were eating into the walls of the royal tombs in the huge necropolis on the west bank of the Nile across from Luxor.
Pointing out that several thousand tourists visit the place every day, he said that poor ventilation and the breath of the hordes of visitors were causing damage to the carvings and painted decorations inside the tombs.
He said so while on a tour of the royal necropolis with journalists on Monday. e also revealed that the authorities had decided to close some tombs to tourists, and replace them with replicas, including those of Tutenkhamun, Nefertiti and Seti I.
According to reports, the country's Supreme Council of Antiquities have already taken a series of measures to protect the tombs, including setting up new ventilation systems and restricting the number of visitors.
"The tombs which are open to visitors are facing severe damage to both colours and the engravings," the Telegraph quoted Hawass as saying.
"The levels of humidity and fungus are increasing because of the breath of visitors and this means that the tombs could disappear between 150 and 500 years," he added. (ANI)