Photo by Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images.
Antiquities authorities in Egypt closed the largest of the world-famous Giza pyramids Friday after rumors circulated that religious groups would be holding spiritual ceremonies on the site at 11:11 a.m. to mark the rare date – 11/11/11.
The Associated Press explains that the closure comes after unsubstantiated local press reports saying unidentified groups would be conducting “Jewish” or “Masonic” ceremonies on the largest pyramid, known as Khufu or Cheops, in hopes of leveraging “mysterious powers” in connection with the date.
Egyptian authorities, however, said the reports are “completely lacking in truth,” and that the pyramid would be closed for “necessary maintenance” until Saturday morning.
While officials at the pyramid complex report that 11:11 a.m. passed without incident, at least one group previously made a rather bizarre effort to mark the occasion. An Egyptian company was denied permission last week for a gathering of 120 people to join hands and “hug the pyramid,” according to the AP. The request then sparked a battle on Twitter and Facebook about whether groups should be allowed on the ancient burial structures for the special day.
The rest of the pyramid complex remained open, but officials were not taking any chances. Armed police officers and soldiers were on hand to ensure that none of the much-hyped rituals would be taking place.