Saturday, April 30, 2016

News, Giza: Grand Egyptian Museum Receives 1,199 Objects from Alexandria Antiquities Stores

Greco-Roman artifacts brought to GEM from 
Alexandria antiquities storerooms
CAIRO: A set of 1,199 artifacts from the archaeological stores in Alexandria were transported to the under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in preparation for restoration and future display, Tarik Tawfik, GEM General Supervisor said in a statement Friday.

A specialized committee has been formed to examine and pack the objects as well as preparing a comprehensive report about the current status of each object, said Tawfik.

The artifacts date back to the New Kingdom Period (1580 B.C.-1080 B.C.) and the Greco Roman Period (332 B.C. – 395 A.D.) announced Issa Zeidan, the Director of Restoration Department at the GEM.

Rose granite head among artifacts
received by GEM
Among the objects are accessories, fishing tools, granite sphinx, a royal statue and a group of objects from “Heracleion” that were discovered in Alexandria at the late 1990s, he added.

During the past few years, the GEM received thousands of artifacts from several museums and archaeological sites ahead of its inauguration scheduled for 2018.

Earlier this month, the museum also received 31 wooden beams of the second solar barge of Pharaoh Khufu in preparation for restoration and reassembly.

In April 2015, a total of 200 artifacts of Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s treasures were transferred to the GEM where they will be on display in a separate hall dedicated to the young pharaoh.

Royal statue made of bazalt
GEM, situated on 120 acres of land, is located 2 km southwest of the Giza Pyramids and was scheduled to be inaugurated in August 2015, but due to funding issues, according to former Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al Damaty’s statement in Al-Ahram; it is not expected be inaugurated before 2018.

The construction of the three-phase project, which includes the construction of the museum’s main building and implementation of the master plan, landscape parks and surrounding site infrastructure, began in March 2012, and two phases have been completed so far.
Source: Cairo Post– By/ Rany Mostafa

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Short Story: Egypt’s Remote Siwa Oasis – A Must See!

Siwa Oasis is one of the lesser visited areas on the Egyptian tourist trail and most certainly off the beaten track.

It’s two days out of Cairo and really warrants an overnight by the sea in Marsa Matrouh. One thing I cannot recommend enough is to read a book called Siwa Oasis by Ahmed Fakhry; it gave me such an amazing insight into history, people and was ultimately the reason why I had to go there.

The Siwa Oasis, located between the Qattara Depression (which extends below sea level) and the Egyptian Sand Sea in the Libyan Desert, feels very much like the place that time forgot. Things move at a glacial pace and don’t have the modern trappings of the larger cities of Cairo or Alexandria. At 50 miles in length and 12 miles wide, it isn’t big so two action-packed days could suffice to explore of the most isolated settlements in Egypt. The oasis was officially added to Egypt by Muhammad Ali of Egypt in 1819 and the spoken language is called Siwi, a dialect of the Berber language. The isolation of the oasis sparked the unique culture of Siwa which is evident in the styles of local pottery, costume, and styles of embroidery. The drive to Siwa is stunning and as I passed endless seas of towering date fields, it was obvious what the main agriculture is.

Of course when you arrive, it is hard to miss the striking ancient fortress of Shali, built on natural rock and made of salt, mud-brick and palm logs. This stunning, yet crumbling fortress is so prominent it towers five stories above the town itself, and at sunset is magical for photography. It reminded me of how Edinburgh Castle is such a prominent fixture in the town. So why would you want to visit Siwa Oasis? Well, here are 7 very good reasons why so my question is, why wouldn’t you?

Before I get into it, I’ve already mentioned that Siwa is remote so if you’re expecting luxury then you won’t find it here. If you’re expecting hostels you won’t find them either, but a decent 2-3 star hotel will do just the trick. Just make sure you book in advance and take enough money as the cash machines can’t be relied upon.

Cleopatra’s Pool – Spring of Juba
On a hot day, a dip in one of Siwa’s most famous attractions is a welcome relief. I wouldn’t say the water is particularly clean but when it’s baking hot, who cares. Cleopatra’s pool is a stone pool fed by a natural hot spring, where the Egyptian queen herself is said to have swam on her visit to Siwa. Travellers have been diving into the heated springs for years. Top tip – if you’re female it’s advisable to wear a t-shirt and shorts unless you like an audience.

Great Sand Sea
Siwa is the northern gateway and the perfect starting point for a safari expedition into a truly magical landmark. Covering over 72,000 square kilometres and forming the northern edge of the Sahara, the Great Sand Sea is the world’s third largest dune field. It’s possible to spend a night under a blanket of stars at one of the basic desert camps which is about as remote as you will ever get. It gets cold in the evening so take warm clothes, but the night sky is something which will, and excuse the overused phrase, take your breath away! I’ve only seen similar skies in Namibia where there are more stars than sky.

Shali Fortress
The Jimi Hendrix song ‘Castles made of Sand’ springs to mind. As you drive into Siwa the sight of Shali will set the tone for your experience here. This mud brick disused fortress comes alive at sunrise and sunset and is the best time to visit when the shapes paint looming images over the town. It is made from chunks of salt mixed with rock and mud known locally as ‘kershef’ and was once a labyrinth of corridors, five stories high and served to prevent invaders from entering. After heavy rains for three days in 1926, the damage was so extreme that most inhabitants have moved to safer pastures. What you’re left with is magnificently impressive and brings the history of Siwa alive.

Pass me the Peace Pipe
Smoking a shisha pipe, or hubby bubbly as its well-known is something every visitor must do when visiting the Middle East. I love it actually, especially the apple flavour and washing it down with a sweet Egyptian tea is like a burger and fries, it just works!
There are loads of cafes which surround Shali and the main drag of Siwa, my advice is to order yourself a shish and glass of tea at sunset and sit back and relax, but be sure to keep your camera to hand. It’s a brilliant place for people watching but please ask before you take photos, the people of Siwa do tend to get offended and they have no issue causing a scene.

Graeco-Roman Tombs
The Roman tombs will offer you a true sense of the life the Romans led in Siwa. You can see how they adapted Egyptian motifs to Roman customs and they reveal a different side of Egyptian history you may not have been expecting; it certainly surprised me. There are awesome views of the mountain and cascading date plantations and from up here, you’ll easily remember that you are in fact in an oasis in the desert!

Mountain of the Dead – Gebel al-Mawta
The Mountain of the dead is a hill side full of tombs which were unknown to 19th century explorers. This huge limestone attraction was used as a hideout during WWII when the battles raged around Siwa. Worth noting that The Tomb of the Crocodile contains a painting of a crocodile (funny that), the Tomb of Miso-Isis contains the owners skull and the Tomb of Niperpathot has red ink drawings; all of which are worth checking out. One word of warning is they stink of wee and animals who seek refuge from the sun, you’ve been warned.

Dakrur Mountain
Gebel Aldakrur is one of the several mountains and hills surrounding the town of Siwa, and is literally littered with caves. OK so the caves are not that inspiring and don’t contain the same marking you will find at the Mountain of the Dead, but there is no better place for views of the Siwa Oasis proper. It is said to be one of the healthiest places in Siwa and it is famous for treating illnesses, personally I went there for the views which are without question…spectacular!

So for anyone visiting Egypt or the first time or returning to Egypt and looking for something different, Siwa should most definitely be on your bucket list.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

iCruise Egypt - Vol. 25: MS Blue Shadow Nile Cruise

Come indulge in luxuries one only dreams of while discovering, Egypt, the most mysterious and unforgettable place the world can offer.

There is no better way to experience one of the oldest civilizations of the world than to take a cruise from Luxor to Aswan and experience the breath taking view of the Nile.

The new fully M/S Blue Shadow will be operated by September 2015 and disposes on 54 comfortable cabins , 03 Presidential Suites  and 1 Royal Suite. The ship offers a great chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Nile banks and to see the magnificent temples and tombs of the ancient world together with guests’ cabins arranged on the upper decks & with internal walkways.

M/S Blue Shadow  offers a variety of dining and entertainment options. Among these is the main restaurant offering sumptuous buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Lounge Bar is spacious and elegantly appointed, the perfect place for dancing or watching entertainment shows in the evenings. It's also where you can enjoy afternoon tea and a variety of cocktails. Guest can relax and  watch the slow of the night or simply feast your eyes on the breath taking view of the Nile.
For More Images Visit Our Website            Blue Shadow  Nile Cruise Official Website                                                            Click Here

News: Antiquities Inspector, 3 Guards Stand Trial Over Theft of 3,600 Year-Old Statue

CAIRO: The Administrative Prosecution referred an antiquities ministry official and three security personnel to trial over charges of theft and smuggling of a 3,600 year-old limestone statue from antiquities storerooms at Egypt’s archaeological site of Memphis, Youm7 reported Saturday.

Statue restored from Belgium in March 2016
The referral came after Ana Tavares, Co- director of the U.S. archaeological mission in Mit Rahina, better known as Memphis, has filed a lawsuit against the area antiquities inspector over accusation of “stealing a limestone statue” dating back to the Middle Kingdom and replacing it with a replica before it was smuggled outside Egypt.

The artifact in question represents a seated double statue of an ancient Egyptian couple. The statue, alongside other four artifacts, has been unearthed by the U.S. mission in 2011 before they were handed over for the inspector to store them later at the same year.

However, the disappearance of the double statue was revealed after a curator in the British Museum in London told Nagwan Bahaa Fayez, a member of the U.S. mission who was visiting the museum to display photos for the team’s discoveries in 2011, that he saw the statue with a Belgian antiquity collector.

The Administrative Prosecution formed a committee to inspect the U.S. mission’s storehouse in Memphis. The committee confirmed the statue has been replaced by a replica. Meanwhile, the Criminal Investigative Unit at the Egyptian Museum has confirmed that the statue has been stolen and smuggled outside Egypt.

In December 2015, Egypt has reclaimed three Islamic lanterns that were discovered a year earlier by a London-based Egyptian archaeologist during an attempt to sell them to an antique collector. In April, 2014, Egypt intercepted Jewish antiquities being smuggled to Belgium.

A large number of artifacts were stolen from Mallawi museum in Upper Egypt’s governorate of Minya in the aftermath of the dispersal of the sit-ins of the Muslim Brotherhood in Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda Square  August 14, 2013.
Source: Cairo Post– By/ The Cairo Post

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

News, Cairo: 40-Artifact Exhibit Opens at Egyptian Museum to Mark Sinai Liberation Day

CAIRO: A temporary exhibition titled ” Sinai: the origin of the alphabet” will be inaugurated at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo Monday in the occasion of the Sinai Liberation Day, the antiquities ministry announced.

The exhibition will display artifacts, unearthed in Sinai and carved with alphabetic inscriptions of several ancient Egyptian scripts to shed the light on the development of the alphabetic writing during the early second millennium B.C., said Antiquities Minister Khaled Al Anany.

The exhibit, which will last for six months, is organized by the antiquities ministry in cooperation with the University of Bonn Archaeological Mission.

It will feature 40 artifacts representing ancient Egyptian deities, including Hathor and Ptah, who were worshipped in Sinai during early Pharaonic history, said Anany.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Our Exhibition Abroad, Japan: ‘The Age of The Pyramids Builders’ Exhibition Opens in Japan’s Sendai

Triad of Pharoah Mycerinus is among artifacts on dsplay at
The Age of the Pyramids Builders exhibit opened in
Japan’s Sednai Friday April, 22, 2017
CAIRO: The third leg of a temporary exhibition titled “The Age of the Pyramids Builders” has opened Friday in Japan’s city of Sendai, the antiquities ministry announced in a statement.

The exhibit features over 120 artifacts gathered from different museums across Egypt and will open until September 2017. It has been inaugurated in Tokyo in October 2015 before it toured Japan’s city of Matsuyama.

“The artifacts on display are dating back to the Old Kingdom Period (2686 B.C.-2181B.C.); an era known as the Pyramids age,” head of the Museums Section at the antiquities ministry Elham Salah was quoted by Youm7. 

She added that some of the artifacts have never been in public display before.

Among the displayed objects are a marvelous statue of Pharoah Khafre, a number of Ushabti statues, models for the “Senet” game, a wooden boat and a statue of a scribe, according to Salah.
Wooden coffin dates back to around 2400 B.C. is among artifacts on
dsplay at The Age of the Pyramids Builders exhibit opened in Japan's
 Sednai Friday April, 22, 2017
Planned to tour other six Japanese cities including Kagoshima, Kyoto, Toyama, Fukuoka and Shizuoka, the exhibit is produced in light of a protocol signed between the Japanese government and the Egyptian ministry of antiquities, former Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh al Damaty told The Cairo Post last year.

“It is expected to attract two million visitors with revenue estimated at $2.2 million. Its insurance value is estimated at $131 million,” he said. 

It will contribute in boosting tourism sector and the ministry’s financial resources and benefit other archaeological projects, he added.

In October 2015, Damaty announced that the antiquities ministry’s revenue from entrance fees of archaeological sites reached 380 million EGP ($50 million) during the 2014/2015 fiscal year, compared to 229.8 million EGP in the previous fiscal year.

News: Luxor-Japan Direct Fights to Resume Saturday After 5-Years Hiatus

CAIRO: Egypt’s Luxor International Airport will receive Saturday evening the first direct flight from Japan after 5 years of hiatus, Youm7 reported.

It is scheduled that the flight will land in the airport at 8:00 p.m. Cairo local time with 230 Japanese tourists who will tour Egypt’s top tourist destination for three days.

For a month, Luxor Airport will receive a weekly flight from Japan and the number of the flights will be doubled weekly to two in October, said head of Airport public relations Bekhit Khairi.

After January 25 Revolution 2011, Japan has stopped direct flights to the airport, the decision pushed Japanese passengers to have transits in UAE or Qatar.

It is scheduled that the first direct flight from the Cairo International airport to Japan’s Kansai International Airport near Osaka will operate Saturday, said head of the International Tourism Section of Egypt’s Tourism Authority Mohamed Abdel-Gabbar on March 21. The number of Japanese tourists visited Egypt last year recorded 13,613 with an increase of 10 percent compared to 2014, he said.

Egypt’s political turmoil following the 2011 January uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak has badly affected tourism sector, which has only recently started to rebound. The sector, which is the nation’s second highest source of national income after the Suez Canal provides direct and indirect employment to up to 12.6 percent of the country’s workforce.
Source: Cairo Post– By/ The Cairo Post

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Short Story: Stories of the Sphinx

The Great Sphinx at Giza is an eternal symbol of Egypt, appreciated for millennia as an immortal witness to interconnections between the eastern and western worlds, writes Hussein Bassir.

The Giza Plateau is among the most important archaeological and touristic sites in Egypt and the world. The unique fame of this World Heritage Site comes from the presence of the legendary Pyramids of the Fourth Dynasty, the temples and cemeteries, and, of course, the Great Sphinx. Although the necropolis of Giza was used throughout the ancient Egyptian period, the Old Kingdom cemetery was the most appreciated by the ancient Egyptians themselves.

The Great Sphinx is located at the eastern edge of the Giza Plateau, which goes back to the Eocene Period. The Sphinx is carved into the rock to the left of the beginning of the causeway of the Pyramid complex of King Khafre, the builder of the Second Pyramid at Giza. It was a new and unique element in the pyramid complex of Khafre, never to be repeated, and was an essential part of it.

The statue is around 22 metres in height and 75 metres in length. It is probably the largest man-made statue sculpted from a single block of stone in the world. In the majority of opinions, the Great Sphinx dates to the reign of King Khafre. It has a human head and a lion’s body to express the intellectuality of human beings and the strength of the lion, an animal which was associated with the solar religion in the Old Kingdom. The statue faces the rising sun.

The human head of the statue represents king Khafre wearing the nemes headdress topped by the uraeus on the forehead of the king. The nose of the statue is now broken, and the beard is gone. However, some pieces of the beard are currently housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and in the British Museum in London. In front and to the right of the Sphinx are located the Valley Temple of King Khafre and the Sphinx Temple, which are similar in architectural design.

During the New Kingdom, the Great Sphinx was called “Horemakhet” and “Horoun” or “Horna” or “Hol” by the Canaanites. The classical writers called the statue the Sphinx, probably derived from the ancient Egyptian word “Sspanx” meaning “living image” of the sun god. The Arabic name “Abu Al-Hol” probably came from the expression “pr-Hwl” meaning “House of Hol” or “pw-Hwl” meaning “Place of Hol”. As a result, the current Arabic name is not related to the literal meaning of the ancient Egyptian one.

Many famous individuals have visited the Great Sphinx from ancient Egyptian to modern times. This fascinating statue has always attracted the minds and imagination of its visitors from all periods. In order to pay homage to the statue in ancient Egypt, many votive stelae by royal and non-royal individuals were placed around the Great Sphinx, the most famous being the stelae of Amenhotep II and the well-known “Dream Stela” of Thutmose IV.

Amenhotep II built the Temple of Hormakhis to the north-east of the Sphinx. And Thutmose IV built an enclosure wall around the Sphinx to stop the sand from hiding the statue. When the famous Greek historian Herodotus visited the Giza Pyramids in the middle of the fifth century BCE, he did not mention the Great Sphinx because the statue was probably covered by sand at that time. Afterwards, the Arab writers described only the Pyramids and the head of the Great Sphinx, meaning that the statue was covered up to the neck with sand by that time.

When Napoleon Bonaparte came to Egypt in 1798, the Great Sphinx was also partially covered by sand. The French scientists who accompanied his expedition drew a map of the Giza Plateau and cleaned the sand from around the head and neck of the Sphinx.

The Great Sphinx is composed of rock from three geological layers. The strongest one makes up the head and lower portion of the statue, while the weakest ones make up the neck and chest of it. The Sphinx has been the object of many restoration operations over time. The first of these was carried out by Thutmose IV when he removed the sand around the statue, built a mudbrick enclosure wall around the Sphinx and its out buildings, and restored some of the deteriorated parts of the statue. As a result, the god Hormakhis made him king of Egypt, according to his famous Dream Stela. In the Roman period, the statue was restored during the reigns of the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Septimus Severus.

Later, the Egyptologists Caviglia, Mariette and Maspero all tried to remove the sand around the Sphinx, but their efforts were not complete. Baraize was the first to remove the sand from around the statue and also restore the head of the Sphinx, including the neck and some parts of the body..... Read More

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

News: French President Visits Historical Sites and Museums in Egypt

President Hollande calling the world from the Coptic Museum
(Courtesy of the Ministry of Antiquities)
The French president and the German vice-chancellor toured several archaeological sites in Egypt during their diplomatic visit to the country. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

On the final day of his visit to Egypt, French President Francois Hollande was guided by Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany on a tour around the Salaheddin Citadel and the Coptic Museum in Old Cairo.

President Hollande insisted on visiting these two sites because they highlight Egypt's long history of religious tolerance.

From the Coptic Museum, Hollande called on the entire world to visit Egypt, and pointed to several cooperation deals signed between both countries in a number of domains, including the archaeological field.

The director-general of the Grand Egyptian Museum also escorted German vice-chancellor and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel on his tour at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir and the Giza Plateau.

Gabriel was reportedly impressed with the distinguished ancient Egyptian artefacts on display at the museum.

He also met with German restorer Christian Eckman and heard about his work in restoring the iconic mask of Tutankhamun and the restoration works being carried out on Tutankhamun's golden sheets.

News, Giza: CEA Joins #ScanPyramids Project

Analyse of Emulsion films with Automated microscopes Nagoya University
 (Courtesy of the ScanPyramid Project
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is joining the mission to scan several of Egypt's pyramids. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

After having submitted a request to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, the #ScanPyramids project is welcoming a new team of researchers from the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and the Institute of Research into the Fundamental Laws of the Universe (Irfu).

Mehdi Tayoubi, president of the Paris-based Heritage Innovation Preservation (HIP) Institute, announced that since the launching of the project, the CEA team has shown interest due to its know-how in muon tomography. The team has been developing over many years micro-pattern gas detectors called Micromegas.

Electronic Scintillator preparation at KEK Japan
The #ScanPyramids project aims at scanning over the course of one year a number of Egyptian pyramids, including the Khufu and Khafre pyramids in Giza as well as the Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramids.

The project combines several non-invasive and non-damaging scanning techniques to search for the presence of any hidden internal structures and cavities in ancient monuments, which may lead to a better understanding of their structure and their construction processes / techniques.

The Micromegas detectors are used to reconstruct particle tracks for many scientific endeavours in high energy physics. According to Tayoubi, the detectors have been installed in the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in the US.

Filling detectors with Gaz in clean room CEA
Using these unique detectors, the CEA team is building specialised muon telescopes for the #ScanPyramids mission, currently under construction and testing in the CEA laboratories at Saclay in France.

This new generation of muon telescopes, Tayoubi explains, will supplement the other muon techniques conceived in Japan. The Japanese devices are used to scan inside the pyramids while the CEA telescopes will scan from the outside.

Hani Helal, the coordinator of the #ScanPyramids project, explains that the CEA is a public research organisation working in four main areas; defense and security, nuclear and renewable energies, technological research for industry and fundamental research.

The CEA takes part in implementing cooperation projects with a wide range of academic and industrial partners. With its 16,000 researchers and employees, it is a major player in European research and is currently expanding its international presence.

CEA Muons Telescope
The #ScanPyramids project was launched in October 2015 under the authority of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and is led by the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University along with the Heritage, Innovation and Preservation Institute in Paris (HIP).

The mission involves the use of infrared thermography, muon tomography and 3D reconstruction techniques.

Several international scientific institutions are taking part in the project: Nagoya University in Japan; the High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation in Tsukuba, Japan for muon tomography; and Laval University in Quebec, Canada for infrared thermography.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ballooning Over Luxor - Antiquities From The Sky

LUXOR:  They take off at first light, reinforced wicker baskets filled with people, heading into the skies over Luxor, Egypt.

Only from a balloon high in the sky, in the clear air of the early morning, can a visitor begin to grasp the beauty of antiquities on the ground in this one-time Egyptian capital known in ancient times as Thebes.

The city in southern Egypt is one of the world’s largest outdoor museums, boasting majestic pharaonic temples on the east bank of the Nile River and heavily adorned tombs of some of the best-known ancient kings — including Tutankhamun, the boy king — on the west bank.

The path of the brightly colored balloons is determined by prevailing winds. On the ride, the silence is broken only by the whoosh of the gas burners and the occasional exclamations from tourists awed by the sights.

Yet there may be mixed feelings at take off: a healthy dose of adventurism and anticipation about what the short flight will reveal, but also concerns about safety. Three years ago, 19 people died here in a balloon accident. 

Since then, authorities have imposed rigid regulations on balloon operators, including cancelling flights on bad-weather days and training requirements for pilots.

The ride lasts about 20 minutes, before the pilot begins looking for a safe landing zone. Tourists brace themselves for landing, a usually bumpy affair more akin to a soft crash landing. 

The details of life in rural Egypt come into view as the balloon begins its descent, with farmers toiling in the fields and children heading to school in the dusty roads of the west bank.

A dedicated ground crew riding a rugged truck tracks each balloon. The trucks maneuver in anticipation of the landing spot. Once the balloon touches down, they hurry to grab ropes to prevent it from taking off again or moving sideways. 
 Source: Cairo Post - By/ AP

Monday, April 18, 2016

News, Cairo: 19th Century Cairo Building Turns Out to be Helwan Theatre, Not Royal Palace

Local residents had suspected the structure was once a residence of Tawfiq Pasha, former khedive of Egypt. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Helwan Theatre
A building in Helwan which was reported by locals to be a palace belonging to 19th century ruler Tawfiq Pasha has been identified by antiquities officials as the Helwan Theatre.

After inspecting the building in Noubar Street in Helwan in southern Cairo, an archaeological committee appointed by the antiquities ministry said that the structure was in fact the theatre, which had not been listed on Egypt's official heritage list, a ministry press release said.

Ibrahim Nayrouz, director of the documentation administration in the ministry, told Ahram Online that the theatre was built in 1892 and registered on Cairo governorate's list as a historic edifice with distinguished architecture.

The theatre, he continued, follows the National Organization for Urban Harmony and not the ministry of antiquities because it is not listed on Egypt's Heritage List.  

Nayrouz added that the inspection tour revealed that the theatre's widows and entrance areas are blocked with mud brick. The wooden facade of the stage remains in place, and the ceiiling is decorated with masks and harp shapes, Nayrouz said. A few chairs sit in front of the stage.

The building is unfortunately in very poor condition, he added. A detailed report is to be sent to the ministry of antiquities. The ministry will then discuss the future of the building with the National Organization for Urban Harmony.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

News: Egypt’s Archaeological Sites Go Free Monday to Mark World Heritage Day

CAIRO: Admission to all Egypt’s museums and archaeological areas will be free for Egyptians and residents on Monday in the occasion of the International Day of Cultural Heritage, the Antiquities Ministry announced in a statement.

“The sites will open for free during official working hours. The decision is not only to celebrate the World Heritage Day but also to encourage tourists to visit these unrivaled sites,” said Antiquities Ministry Khaled Al Anany.

It is also to encourage Egyptians to know more about their history, he added.

Under the slogan, “Know your country through your Heritage,” the ministry will organize a number of cultural events and activities on Monday at Egypt’s archaeological sites inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List, according to the statement.

There are seven World Heritage sites in Egypt, only one of which is a natural site: the Wadi al-Hitan or (Valley of the Whales;) a paleontological site located some 135 kilometers southwest of Cairo. It houses hundreds of fossils of some of the earliest forms of whales.

The other World Heritage sites are: Memphis and its Necropolis, the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshour, The Abu Mena Monastery, Ancient Thebes (modern Luxor,) Historic Cairo, the Saint Catherine area in the Sinai Peninsula, and finally the Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae.
Source: Cairo Post– By/ Rany Mostafa

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Our Exhibitions Abroad, London: Colossal Ancient Egyptian Statues Arrive Safely in British Museum

God Hapy colossus (Courtesy of the British Museum)
The statues depicting the Egyptian god Hapy, King Ptolemy II and his sister Queen Arsinoe, are part of an international exhibition tour. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The British Museum has welcomed three giant statues depicting the Egyptian god Hapy, King Ptolemy II and his sister Queen Arsinoe, as part of an international exhibition tour.

Elham Salah, head of the Museums Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that statue of Hapy – the god of the Nile flood – is a 5.4-metre tall colossus carved in pink granite and was recovered from a seabed in 2001 by a French Egyptian mission led by Frank Goddio.

The colossus was found at the entrance of Amun-Gereb temple in the port of the sunken city of Thonies-Heracleion. 

preparation for the exhibition at the British Museum
(Courtesy of the British Museum)
The statues depicting King Ptolemy II and his sister weigh almost 20 tonnes and are well-preserved.

The exhibition, Salah said, will be officially inaugurated on 19 May and will last until 27 November. 

It will also include a collection of 300 artefacts recovered from the sunken cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, which sat at the mouth of the Nile where the Greek and Egyptian empires met.

"The British Museum is the second stop of this touring exhibition that will visit several cities in Europe and Japan," Salah said, adding that the first stop was the Arab World Institute in Paris.

Friday, April 15, 2016

New Discovery, Aswan: Barque Shrine of Hatshepsut Unearthed in Aswan’s Elephantine Island

CAIRO: Egypt has unearthed an archaeological barque shrine from the era of Queen Hatshepsut, that was dedicated to worship of the Egyptian god Khnum in Elephantine Island in the central of the Nile at Aswan, announced Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities Thursday.

The shrine consists of a number of blocks for the four-pillar shrine, and was discovered by German and Swiss missions in Elephantine Island, the statement said, adding that it could be reconstructed after discovering 30 blocks.

“On the pillars are representations of several versions of the god Khnum, as well as other gods, such as Imi-peref ‘He-who-is-in-his-house’, Nebet-menit ‘Lady-of-the-mooring-post’ and Min-Amun of Nubia,” the statement continued.

It was found in foundations of the Khnum temple of Nectanebo II. The new discovery has carvings depict Queen Hatshepsut as a woman before her inauguration; Hatshepsut (1479 B.C.-1458 B.C,) whose name means “her majesty;” following her inauguration, she was depicted wearing male uniforms. She was the 5th Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty (1580B.C.-1080B.C.).

“The newly discovered building thus adds to our knowledge of the early years of Queen Hatshepsut and her engagement in the region of Aswan” the statement said, noting “the building served as a way station for the festival barque of the god Khnum.”

Queen Hatshepsut was known for erecting obelisks, some of which still stand at the ancient Egyptian temples in Luxor while some others are scattered in squares all over the world. After her death, her monuments, names and statues were deliberately defaced and demolished apparently by her co-ruler and step-son/nephew Thutmose III. Two days ago, a 4,200 year-old statue of an ancient Egyptian monarch was unearthed at Elephantine Island in Aswan.