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Egypt closes Great Pyramid amid 11-11-11 rumors

November 11, 2011 |  3:07 pm

Egyptian pyramids of Giza
The Great Pyramid outside Cairo was closed Friday after rumors circulated that various groups would try to hold ceremonies at the site on 11-11-11 at 11:11 a.m.

The rumors sparked a campaign on Facebook and Twitter to prevent the ceremonies, according to local news reports.

Egypt’s antiquities authority issued a statement Friday saying the site housing the tomb of the Pharaoh Khufu, also known as Cheops, would be closed to visitors until Saturday morning for "necessary maintenance." Two nearby pyramids and the Sphinx remained open.

Rumors had circulated for days that groups would try to hold Jewish or Masonic rites at the site to take advantage of its reputed mystical powers on November 11, 2011.

The authority’s head, Mustafa Amin, told the Associated Press that the reports were "completely lacking in truth" and had nothing to do with the closure, which he said was because of the high volume of visitors during the recent Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha.

An Egyptian company had requested permission to hold an event called Hug the Pyramid, in which 120 people would join hands around the structure, the complex’s director, Ali Asfar, told AP. But he said the request was denied.

After the anticipated moment had passed, Asfar told AP, "Everything is normal."


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Photo: The pyramids of Menkaure, left, Khafre, center, and Khufu in Giza, Egypt. Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP / Getty Images