Sherif Hashem, Hossam Zaidan, Mustafa Hazin, Ibrahim Mohamed, Ahmed Bahgat are Egypt’s new “adventurous five,” but they are not protagonists of a short story. They are founding members of the archaeological Catacombs initiative. Together raise their motto, “We open the doors of history,” which reflects their aim of raising archaeological awareness among Egyptians and invigorating domestic tourism.
Brought together by their shared enthusiasm for Egypt’s ancient heritage, they established the group just four months ago, when the five youths met at the opening of the Baron Empain Palace in Cairo. They organize tours, each of which is unique, that provide those who join them with the opportunity to discover the various facets of ancient sites, historical, archeological, artistic, and architectural. Their passion for archeology and history and their desire to raise awareness among Egyptians also compelled them to launch a Facebook page, Catacombs, to serve as a platform to share that passion with their compatriots and shed light on the country’s many precious sites and monuments.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat about the initiative, Hussam Zaidan, a member of the team, explained the rationale that drove them to join forces. “When I give a tour, I explain the sites’ archaeological and architectural significance. But I lack a historical background, so my explanation is incomplete. So, with our various specializations, historical, archeological, and civilizational, we complement one another, especially as we are planning to work professionally and on a large scale, which requires more precise information and a more in-depth explanation.
Another team member, Mustafa Hazin, continues the conversation. Discussing their various and distinctive initiatives, he says: “We saw that five minds coming together would allow us to enrich the content of our work. We have also launched novel activities. For example, we uploaded a live broadcast in which five individuals discuss a single site, allowing our audience to follow historical, archaeological discussions on Facebook. Such work has been well received by our followers and helped fuel our launch.”