24/09/2012 08:01 BST

Egypt Reopens Renovated Ancient Serapeum Tomb In Saqqara (PICTURES)

An ancient Egyptian tomb of enormous archaeological importance has finally been reopened to the public after 10 years of renovation.

The Serapeum - in the enormous burial site of Saqqara, 19 miles south of Cairo - dates back to 1400BC and is the burial place of 30 “Apis” bulls, animals considered to be holy by Pharaohs.

The bulls' granite tombs each weigh between 60 and 70 tonnes.

egypt reopens tombs

The sacred bulls lie in huge tombs

The site was discovered in 1851 by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette - who blasted it open with dynamite - but closed in 2001 because of water damage and Earth movement.

It has has now been fully renovated at a cost of £12m Egyptian pounds (£1.2m).

The foundations of the tomb have been reinforced, walls mended and lighting, ventilation and surveillance installed.

The tombs of the bulls lie in massive underground galleries, connected by long passageways.

“This archeological site is linked to very old beliefs regarding ancient Egypt, when they declared the sacred Apis Bull to represent the responsibility of Egypt’s ruler that was to guarantee the fertility of the land and its animals,” Mohammed Ibrahim, the secretary of state for antiquities, told Al Arabiya News.

egypt tomb

Serapeum contains huge subterranean passages, which are now lighted and ventilated

Egypt has been through turbulent times recently and the tourism industry has been suffering.

Ibrahim hopes that sites such as the Serapeum will help to draw visitors back.