Thursday, October 27, 2016

News, Cairo Egypt and UNESCO Discuss Fustat Civilisation Museum

Egypt's minister of antiquities meets with UNESCO representatives and others to discuss the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation, partially completed but largely on hold since the 2011 revolution. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany met on Wednesday with representatives of the UNESCO office in Egypt and a special international agency to discuss preliminary suggestions on making use of the visitors centre of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC) in Fustat, as well as its cultural and commercial sections.

Mahrous Saeed, supervisor general of the NMEC, said that UNESCO's Egypt office asked a special international agency to carry out a feasibility study on getting the best use out of the NMEC visitor centre as well as finding additional finance to restart suspended work on the museum.

The cultural section of NMEC houses a 332-seat cinema, a 486-seat theatre, and lecture and conference halls equipped with state-of-the-art projectors, media, sound and lighting systems. The commercial section has 42 shops, cafeterias and restaurants.

The museum's main building, overlooking Ain Al-Sira Lake in the heart of Egypt’s first Islamic capital, Fustat, is near completion, including galleries, corridors and exhibition sections. Work was all but halted in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution due to budgetary shortfalls.

Selection of the site for the NMEC was made in 2000. In 2002, the pyramid-shaped foundation stone of the building was laid, and in 2004 the first phase of the project was completed.

An extensive pre-building inspection was carried out to determine if any ruins or antiquities lay buried below ground. An up-to-date storage space, similar to that of the Louvre Museum in Paris and the British Museum in London was built on site. This is the first time that such a storage facility has been built in Egypt and includes a high-tech security system that is directly connected to the police commissariat. A laboratory to restore pieces in the museum’s collection is also among the achievements of the first phase.

The second phase started in 2007 but has not yet completed. Tarek Al-Nagaawy, the NMEC project’s engineer, told Al-Ahram Weekly that work at the museum has been slow, but the team has completed the building’s commercial and cultural section. The museum’s glass pyramid-shaped roof will display a multimedia show of the different eras of Egyptian civilisation.

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