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PARIS, September 6, 2018 (News Wires) - Paris has claimed the honour of being home to the world’s top museum - but it’s not the Louvre.

In TripAdvisor’s annual Travellers’ Choice Awards for Museums, the Musée d’Orsay took the top spot for 2018, far ahead of the world’s most visited museum, the Louvre which is ranked seventh.

The TripAdvisor results show that popularity doesn’t always equal likeability. According to the 2017 Theme Index and Museum report, around 8.1 million people visited the Louvre last year making it the most visited museum in the world.

The report credited the 10 per cent increase in visits over 2016 to the tourism recovery following terrorist attacks and security concerns in Paris.

But after applying an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for museums around the world over a 12-month period, Orsay emerged the global winner on TripAdvisor’s list, with many fans describing it as less overwhelming and crowded than the Louvre.

After Orsay, New York’s National 9/11 Memorial and Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art round out the podium.

Overall, the top 10 list is dominated by museums in Europe.


IDLIB CITY, August 14, 2018 (AFP) - An antiquities museum in Syria's rebel-held province of Idlib, said to house one of the world's oldest dictionaries, reopened on Monday after five years, an AFP correspondent said.

Dozens of visitors trickled into the museum in Idlib city to see what an official said represented just a fraction of the building's collection.

Ayman al-Nabu, head of antiquities for the city controlled by an alliance of rebels and jihadists, said the museum had been damaged by air strikes and looting during Syria's nearly seven-year conflict.

After it was closed in 2013, “we carried out maintenance and rehabilitated the museum to give it new life,” he said.

Organisers are planning “visits for a whole generation of students who have been unable to visit archeological sites due to the war,” he added.

The museum is said to house a collection of clay tablets dating back to 2400-2300 BC, which bear witness to the invention of the first alphabet.

They were discovered in Idlib province's site of Ebla, which was the seat of one of ancient Syria's earliest kingdoms.

Nabu urged Unesco to help preserve the archeological sites of the province, and said archeology has nothing to do with politics.

Yesterday, a man admired clay lamps displayed in a glass cabinet, while a women took a picture with her phone of a collection including a large amphora. A dark grey statuette stood beheaded on a pedestal in a corner.

Archeologist Fayez Qawsara said he remembers the museum's opening in 1989.

“I attended the founding of Idlib museum in my youth... and today, after all these dark happenings, the museum is reopening with what remains in it,” he said.

Important objects in the collection included “the Ebla tablets and basalt statues showing ancient religious rites,” he said.

Major historical sites or monuments have been destroyed in fighting during Syria's war, including in the Unesco-listed world heritage site of Palmyra.

Idlib is the last province in Syria that is still largely under opposition control.

President Bashar al-Assad has warned that government forces intend to retake the province after the Russia-backed Syrian army seized territory from rebels and terrorists in other parts of Syria.

The war has killed 350,000 people and displaced millions more.

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt, August 4, 2018 (MENA) – The National Company for General Contracting and Supplies started on Saturday construction of Sharm el Sheikh museum at a total cost of LE 250 million.

A statement by South Sinai governorate said governor Khaled Fouda met with chairman of the board of directors of the National Company for General Contracting and Supplies Karam Salem to discuss the project's working plan and means of completing it in accordance with the timeline set.

The project is set to be finalized at the end of 2019.

The museum will be established on an area of 52 feddans and is due to display some 20,000 artifacts from the Pharaonic era to the modern age.

BANGKOK,  August 2, 2018 (News Wires) - Thai construction workers on Thursday began building a museum to commemorate the dramatic cave rescue of a boys' soccer team in the northern province of Chiang Rai and the death of one of the divers.

The 12 boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach went missing on June 23 while exploring the cave complex and were rescued more than two weeks later during a perilous three-day mission by foreign and Thai divers that gripped audiences around the world.

Work on the museum began after a traditional Buddhist ceremony on Wednesday at the Tham Luang cave, in which authorities asked for the blessing of local spirits.

The museum, which is expected to take about five months and $300,000 to build, is being funded by a Thai artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat, a Chiang Rai native.

"This place will be very beneficial for our country, as it will commemorate the multinational co-operation and the hero who sacrificed his life. Tourists from around the world will visit this place," Chalermchai said.

Thai diver Samarn Kunan died after he lost consciousness during a mission to place oxygen tanks deep inside the cave.

A four-metre statue of Samarn, currently being sculpted, will be placed in front of the museum.

The museum will also house a 13-metre-long painting, which features rescuers, including the British divers who first found the boys.

Eleven of the boys have been spending time as Buddhist novices to honour Samarn. On Saturday, they will leave the temple to return to normal life.

Mae Sai (Thailand), July 12, 2018 (AFP) - Rescuers who pulled a young Thai football team from deep inside a flooded cave were dismantling their worksite on Thursday, as plans emerged to turn the spot into a museum in tribute to the daring operation.

At least one film production house was already working on a scheme to make a Hollywood treatment out of the heroics of divers, cavers and medics who risked their lives to free the "Wild Boars".

Stunning footage of that rescue was released on Wednesday showing the youngsters -- aged 11 to 16 -- being stretchered to safety.

They were also seen sitting cheerfully in their hospital beds, where they are being kept in isolation until doctors are sure they did not pick up any nasty diseases during more than two weeks in the dark.

Workers were Thursday packing up the industrial water pumps, heavy-grade machinery and construction equipment at the mouth of the Tham Luang cave, which had been a high-tech command centre during the 18-day ordeal.

Rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters the site would ultimately be converted into a museum showcasing the clothes and equipment used during the dramatic rescue.

"I believe it will become another highlight in Thailand," he said. "Tourists will come visit."

About 50 people were working at the site, National Park ranger Pinitpong Wongma told AFP, adding that he expected work would continue until at least Sunday.

"Nobody is allowed to go inside the cave at all even though there is still a lot of equipment there because water levels have been rising since the rescue mission," he said.

The rescue of the "Wild Boars" team was still being celebrated in Thailand as the 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach recovered in a local hospital.

The Nation newspaper called the operation a "Triumph of global co-operation" on its front page Thursday while the Bangkok Post published a collage of images of those involved under the heading "You Are Heroes."

The saga started on June 23 when the players walked into the Tham Luang cave complex after football practice and were trapped when monsoon flooding blocked their exit.

Nine days later British divers found the dishevelled and hungry group perched on a ledge four kilometres inside the cave.

Over the following week, experts from around the world descended on northern Thailand and rescuers pumped out more than 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools-worth of water.

A huge media pack of more than 1,000 journalists gathered at the mouth of the cave feeding audiences all over the globe with every twist and turn of the dramatic rescue until its joyful conclusion on Tuesday.

The huge international interest in the story sparked immediate talk of books and films.

Michael Scott, the managing partner of faith-based production house Pure Flix, said the company intends to pursue a film about the against-the-odds mission.

Scott, who lives in Thailand and went to the site in Chiang Rai as the boys were being pulled to safety, made the announcement late Tuesday on Twitter in a video.

"We're here really looking at this as a movie that could inspire millions of people across the globe," Scott said.

LA PAZ, July 5, 2018 (News Wires) — Bolivia is to build an underwater museum in its sacred Lake Titicaca, the culture minister said.

The move comes after thousands of priceless artifacts were discovered at the bottom of the abyss.

“It will be both a tourist complex and a centre for archaeological, geological and biological research, which will make it the only one in the world,” culture minister Wilma Alanoca said this week.

The museum will cost US$10 million to build, in partnership with Belgian development agency Enabel. Alanoca said Belgium and UNESCO would contribute US$2 million to the project.

Titicaca holds an important place in the hearts of local people — legend has it that Manco Capac, the son of the Sun God and his wife Mama Ocllo, emerged from its waters.

One of the main figures in Inca mythology, Manco Capac is believed to have founded the Peruvian city of Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th to 16th centuries.

Titicaca spans an area of 8,500 square kilometres and straddles the border between Bolivia and Peru. At more than 3,800 meters altitude, it is the world’s highest body of fresh water that is navigable by large vessels.

It was the birthplace of several local cultures before the arrival of Spanish colonialists.

The most recent excavations turned up 10,000 artefacts, made from bone, ceramics and metal, cooking utensils, as well as human and animal remains, dating back to the pre-Tiwanaku (before 300 AD), Tiwanaku (300-1100) and Inca (1100-1570) eras.

The museum will be situated close to the town of San Pedro de Tiquina, around 100km from the capital La Paz.

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