GIZA, Egypt — More than 4,500 years since the paint was first applied, the reds, yellows and blues still stand out on the walls of the tomb of Queen Meresankh III.
A hunter throws a net to catch water birds, craftsmen make papyrus mats while a stream of people carry baskets filled with offerings for the afterlife.
Decorating the walls all around are paintings, reliefs and statues of Meresankh herself, draped in a leopard-skin cloak, standing beside her mother in a boat pulling papyrus stems through the water, or being entertained by musicians and singers.
Egypt’s tourism industry has been battered since last year’s revolution, but here, beside the pyramids of Giza, officials are trying to attract the visitors back.
The tomb of Meresankh, whose names means lover of life, will be opened to the public for the first time in nearly 25 years later this year, while five other tombs of high priests — buried under the desert sands for decades — will be thrown open.
“We want to give people a reason to come back, to give them something new,” said Ali Asfar, director general of archaeology on the Giza plateau.
Meresankh was a woman whose life was intimately bound up in the pharaoh’s incestuous rule. Her tomb lies a stone’s throw east of the Great Pyramid of her grandfather Khufu, better known as Cheops.