DUBAI: A video that shows a Danish couple climbing the Pyramid of Khufu before posing naked at the top has gone viral, sparking outrage from both the Egyptian government and the general public.
The video, posted on YouTube last Wednesday, was shot by Danish photographer Andreas Hvid, who is known on social media for posting pictures from various high vantage points around the world. Known as “rooftopping,” the process involves climbing cranes, chimneys or high-rise buildings unsecured and usually illegally. Hvid has been doing it for years and has more than 11,000 followers on Instagram.
Speaking to Ekstra Bladet, a Danish tabloid, Hvid said he had wanted to do a pyramid shoot for some time. This was Hvid’s second attempt to climb the pyramid following a failed attempt, when he and a friend were caught by guards and taken to the local police station. They were released with a warning.
After sneaking on to the plateau just before closing, he and his model friend hid in a temple and waited for the level of activity on the plateau to fall. “We lay and froze for about an hour-and-a-half while we could hear cars driving around,” he said.
The actual climb took about 25 minutes. “A euphoric feeling struck us both when we reached the top,” Hvid said. “It was the culmination of a lot of work and many chances taken.”
As for the subject matter of the video, he said he did not mean for it to come across as disrespectful, but rather as a critique on the behavior of privileged Western youths. “It was the dumbest idea I could think of. Western, privileged youth at its worst. But I don’t make fun of religious symbols, which the pyramids haven’t been in 4,500 years.”
Speaking to Al-Ahram, Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Anany called it a violation of public morality and said he had filed a memo with the prosecutor-general on Friday. Al-Anany promised that the incident and the video would be investigated by the attorney-general, although it is unclear what sort of action could be taken against the couple.
Climbing pyramids is illegal in Egypt, though that hasn’t stopped people before. In 2016, German teen Andrej Ciesielski also climbed the Pyramid of Khufu, causing Egypt to send an official notice to the German embassy banning him from the country for life.
As for Hvid, he has since moved to an unspecified location in Asia. “I will stay out of Egypt in the future, as I probably risk being sentenced if I go back,” he told Ekstra Bladet. “It was the desire to climb the pyramid that brought me here, so I feel I've gotten what I wanted.”