A new source of income for museums and souvenir sellers was “fixed” in Egypt. Pagan tourists began to flock to the country, arranging rituals and buying up “spiritual artifacts” from enterprising souvenir sellers. A growing number of European and American tourists wishing to “worship” the ancient gods of Egypt has fueled the growth of a new niche tourism that promises to target audiences “spiritual experiences” through “meditation retreats”.
How this happens, one of the experts, who has worked as a guide for such “spiritual” tourists for 15 years, told the Egyptian media. According to him, in addition to a local guide, such a group is usually led by a so-called “prophet” or spiritual mentor, who chooses the place where they will meditate and the god they will worship during the trip. “Groups of believers sit in a circle and they sing hymns to worship the ancient Egyptian gods,” said this guide, Efe Wael Said Soliman, an Egyptologist at the Sinai Higher Institute of Tourism and Hotels.
At the same time, he stressed that “spiritual practice” does not always cause understanding among other tourists visiting temples. Moreover, earlier these tourists included those who were willing to pay to visit the pyramids at night or after official opening hours – and they were given a special pass to meditate inside the pyramids or even in the burial chamber. But in 2011, the government restricted permissions to enter the temples and pyramids at night. He also said that some participants in such tours periodically “go crazy”, or they faint and lose consciousness during the sessions.
In addition to the pyramids, Karnak in southern Egypt is popular with “spiritually seeking” tourists, where there is a temple of Amun-Ra (the god of the sun), as well as Sekhmet, the goddess of war and healing, in the same complex.
At the same time, the feelings of believers are not particularly offended by the newly-appeared pagans. “These practices are not a religion, since the same prophet, place of meditation and the god they are going to follow can change every year. One year can be here in Egypt, another in Peru,” said the guide of such niche tourists .
And souvenir dealers are frankly happy with them – at the entrance to the Giza pyramid complex, for example, even themed shops have appeared. Where “spiritual” tourists can buy amulets, artifacts and essential oils that “help with meditation.”
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