Sisi: Grand Egyptian Museum to open in 2020
By Ashraf Sadek:
CAIRO, July 17, 2018 - President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has instructed the government to complete the construction work on Egypt's massive new museum and open it to visitors by 2020, Presidency Spokesman Ambassador Bassam Radi said.
The presidential directives were issued during a meeting President Sisi held Tuesday with Prime Minister Dr Moustafa Madbouli and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enani, to review the latest developments pertaining to the progress of work on building the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Giza.
A magnificent celebration will be held to mark the 2020 opening of the GEM, whose inauguration will be an international cultural event, President Sisi told the meeting, Ambassador Radi said.
The opening of the GEM, a unique cultural icon that has no equivalent the world over in terms of design, area or the treasures it will display, should be celebrated in conjunction with the opening of the New Administrative Capital and the New Alamein City, President Sisi told the meeting.
President Sisi also gave directives to the government to keep up its efforts to develop the country’s museums, tourist and historic sites, in order to reflect the distinguished status of the Egyptian civilisation and history, Ambassador Radi said in his round up of the meeting.
The president also called on the government to continue restoring and preserving the country’s antiquities and to prepare a database for them as they were an essential heritage of human civilisation, which belongs to all people, Ambassador Radi added.
During the meeting, which was attended by the head of the Administrative Control Authority, the governor of Giza, the chairman of the Military Engineering Authority, and the chairman of Cairo’s Arab-International Company for Optics, President Sisi gave directives that the GEM should be provided with state-of-the-art security, display and lighting equipment.
Minister Enani presented a report about his ministry’s plans for preserving and restoring antiquities as well as developing historic sites nationwide, Ambassador Radi said.
Besides building and equipping the GEM, the plans included a set of projects aimed at developing the Pyramids Plateau Area, upgrading antiquities’ storage facilities, developing historic sites nationwide and holding exhibitions to display Egyptian antiquities abroad, Minister Enani said.
These projects, which are being co-implemented with the Armed Forces, included restoring the Rams Road in Luxor, the Baron Empain Palace in Cairo, as well as the Greek Museum and a Jewish Synagogue in Alexandria, the Chairman of the Military Engineering Authority, Major General Kamel el-Wazeer told the president.
All the projects, he said, were progressing well and would meet the deadlines that had been set for them.
The Governor of Giza, Mohamed Kamal el-Dali, told the meeting that all the areas surrounding the Giza Pyramids and the new Grand Egyptian Museum were being upgraded according to a pre-set schedule.
The new museum, which will occupy an area of 120 feddans, will display 100,000 artefacts, including King Tutankhamun's famed mummy and golden burial effects and a replica of his tomb
The GEM, which is located at the foot of the Giza Pyramids, will replace the century-old building visited by millions annually in Cairo's Tahrir Square. It will display more than twice as many artefacts as its predecessor. At present, thousands of artefacts are locked away and are unseen in the old museum, due to lack of space to display them.
The new museum already has a conservation centre, the biggest and most advanced in the world, to restore damaged Egyptian or non-Egyptian antiquities. The centre has 12 laboratories for restoring, scanning and studying mummies as well as artefacts made from pottery, wood, textiles and glass.
The GEM is being built with financial assistance from Japan, which has provided a $300 million loan, and the Culture Ministry, which will provide $150 million. Some $27 million have been donated to the museum. More than 30 firms have already submitted tenders for building the main galleries of the museum.