Egypt Celebrates its 7th Millennium

With pyramids as a backdrop, fireworks fall in Cairo

(Everything2000) A splash of fireworks burst above the pyramids of Egypt as 50,000 people rang in Egypt's 7th millennium. It was a mix of old and new as the country celebrates 6,000 years of recorded history.

A fireworks display lit up the night sky above the Great Pyramids in the desert on New Year's Eve. After the fireworks display an electronic opera performance by French musician Jean Michel Jarre began. Even President Hosni Mubark was in the audience for this event.

Jarre has organized spectacular outdoor performances in Houston, Beijing, London, Paris and Moscow. For the pyramids, he used some of his old material and wrote new pieces borrowing from Western and traditional Egyptian rhythms to create the three-hour 12-song cycle ``The Twelve Dreams of the Sun.''

The 12 dreams, according to an ancient Egyptian myth, are attributes the sun contemplates each hour from setting to rising, and thereby offers as gifts to mankind.

The program in Egypt is going on now, and will continue until dawn Saturday. In one spectacular light show, three pyramids just outside of Cairo were used as giant screens for a show designed around images of pharaonic gods.

Tourists from around the world came to Egypt to take part in the three-day party. Some paid up to $400 for seats at dining room tables located in front of the giant stage. Those with tickets were treated to dinner catered by 5-star hotels, not to mention the great seats for the party.

The Ministry of Culture spent about 9.5 Million dollars on this celebration. They felt the world was the stage and it was worth the money to get top billing. Rights to Egypt's New Year celebration were sold to some 80 international television channels. Those stations in turn broadcast the show live to millions of homes worldwide.

Source: Associated Press

DATE: 12/31/99

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