Wafaa El Saddik, Rüdiger Heimlich

The Straight Path is the Only Path. My Life as the Guardian of Egypt´s Treasures

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The Straight Path is the Only Path. My Life as the Guardian of Egypt´s Treasures

English sample translation available
Women of Substance Award 2017

How the Mubaraks plundered the country – a view from inside an authoritarian regime and a gripping story about the fight to protect the world’s greatest artistic treasures

As director general of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Wafaa El Saddik is responsible for Egypt’s most important treasures. Under Mubarak’s rule she was not permitted to discuss what she discovered and experienced during this time. But as valuable treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamen were looted during the demonstrations at Tahrir Square, she decided to break her silence.

While still a student, Wafaa El Saddik was already dreaming of one day carrying out excavations and working in the Egyptian Museum. Only men were promoted at that time – particularly those who were close to the regime. But she prevailed against all odds and became an archaeologist in the land of the pyramids – a land that attracts millions of visitors a year with its spectacular artistic treasures.

After years in Vienna and Cologne, she returned to Cairo where, in her new role as director of the Egyptian Museum – the cash machine of the Egyptian Antiquities Service – she was expected to conduct the first general inventory of the institution in its 100-year history. In the process, she discovered long-forgotten treasures in the building’s cellar, but she also encountered corruption and nepotism.

In these very personal reminiscences, Wafaa El Saddik also looks at the history of her country and asks: What has happened to us Egyptians?



ISBN: 978-3-462-04535-2
release: 16. May 2013
368 pages, gebunden mit SU


19,99 €
0,00 sFr
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About the Authors

Wafaa El Saddik, PhD., was born in 1950, studied Egyptology at Cairo University and completed her doctorate in Vienna. She was the first female Egyptian to lead an excavation (in Karnak) and is the first woman to head the Egyptian National Museum in Cairo. In 1989, she got married and started a family in Cologne. She has published a series of books and curated international exhibitions, including »Tutankhamen. The Golden Hereafter«. She has received multiple international awards for her commitment.

Rüdiger Heimlich, PhD., was born in 1959 and studied literature in Heidelberg, Halifax and Kingston, Canada. He is the political editor of the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger and has worked since 1990 as a freelance journalist for radio, television and numerous German and English-language publications, particularly those dealing with archaeology, literature and music.