Showing posts with label Cairo Attractions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cairo Attractions. Show all posts

Monday, November 12, 2018

New Discovery, Cairo: New Archaeological Discoveries in Matariya, Heliopolis


One of the inscriptions credits the creator God Atum as being responsible for the flood of the Nile, likely dating to the Late Period (664-332 BC). Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

A German-Egyptian archaeological mission working in Matariya, ancient Heliopolis, has uncovered a number of inscribed stone fragments from the 12th and 20th dynasties and the Third Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt.

The discovery was made during excavation work carried out on debris piles located near a limestone burning installation near 4th and 2nd century workshops in the south-eastern section of the innermost enclosure of the Sun Temple.

Ayman Ashmawy, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities and the head of the Egyptian team, explained that work in the area has yielded much evidence that shows the reusing of the main temple of Heliopolis, with fragments of small statues found in the temple inventory from other historical periods. The work was accompanied by archaeological and archaeo-zoological studies.

Dietrich Raue, the head of the German team, said that the mission has excavated the area located to the east of the obelisk of Matariya, where it found a mud brick enclosure and a limestone staircase leading to a higher level by passing a channel with a false door, which was probably connected to rituals that took place in the innermost section of the temple at the obelisk.

Raue told Ahram Online that an inscription crediting the creator God Atum as being responsible for the flood of the Nile was also found. The inscription likely dates to the Late Period (664-332 BC). Many of these structures bear traces of reuse and destruction by fire.

Khaled Abul-Ela, director of the Inspectorate of Ain Shams and the Matariya archaeological site, said that a shelter has been constructed to protect the blocks on display at the open-air museum in Matariya.

The work was carried out under the supervision of the Project Department Sector at the ministry and supported by the cultural preservation programme of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

The open-air museum houses basalt reliefs and reliefs of the Heliopolis temple for Atum of Nektanebu I, limestone reliefs and inscriptions from the Ramesside era, as well as selected finds from the necropolis of Heliopolis.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

New Discovery, Cairo: New Discovery in Matariya Shed Light on The Shape of King Psamtek I Colossus

A frieze of falcons found in the temple
The 4,500 fragments of King Psamtek I's colossus reveal its original size and shape. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Egyptian-German excavation mission at Matariya, Heliopolis, uncovered roughly 4,500 fragments of King Psamtek I's quartzite colossus, parts of which were first discovered last year at the nearby Souq Al-Khamis archaeological site.

Ayman Ashmawy, Head of the Ancient Egyptian antiquities department at the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, said that these fragments, along with the previously discovered 6,400 pieces, allow researchers to calculate the original size and shape of the colossus, which was deliberately destroyed.

One of the uncovered fragments 
“The new fragments confirm that the colossus once depicted King Psamtek I standing, but it also reveals that his left arm was held in front of the body, an unusual feature. A very carefully carved scene on the back-pillar shows the kneeling king Psamtek I in front of the creator-god Atum of Heliopolis,” Ashmawy told Ahram Online.

He added that the majority of the fragments were found in south of the colossus' pedestal. The temple area was left open, Ashmawy added, probably during the Fatimids Era when the temple walls were dismantled to be reused in several Islamic buildings.

Dietrich Raue, Head of the German mission, explained that excavation work was accompanied by a geomorphological and geophysical survey which revealed many fragments of a quartzite gate belonging to Ramses II and (1279-1213 BCE, 19th Dynasty) and Nektanebo I (379/8–361/0 BCE, 30th Dynasty) near the latter's temple in Matariya.

Raue pointed out that the geophysical survey had indicated a number of areas with a large number of fragments of the former temple. Within the four ruined walls of the temple, he said, some exceptional finds were made.

Among them were a fragmented frieze of falcons, part of a gate of Merenptah (1213-1203 BCE, 19th Dynasty) as well as parts of a colossal Ramesside sphinx carved in red granite.

“It seems evident that Nektanebo I added his building to a major temple built at an earlier date,” Raue told Ahram Online. The archaeologist asserted that excavation work in the area has led to the discovery of new room units from the mid-Ptolemaic era.

Some fragments reveal the known practice of reusing of older pharaonic temple items from previous periods during the 2nd and 1st millennium BCE. The work was accompanied by archaeobotanical and archaeozoological studies for the identification of plant and animal remains at the site.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

News, Cairo: Exhibition of Artifacts from Deir al-Bersha to Open Thursday at Egyptian Museum in Tahrir

The exhibition celebrates 120 years of excavations at the Minya governorate site. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

A temporary exhibition highlighting 120 years of archaeological excavations in Deir el-Barsha in Minya will open Thursday evening at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square. Under the title Life in Death: The Middle Kingdom at Deir el-Bersha, the exhibition will be officially inaugurated by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany, Belgiun Ambassador to Egypt Sibille de Cartier and German Ambassador Julius Georg Loew.

The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo, KU Leuven University in Belgium and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany. The event will be attended by the head of the Belgium-Germany Archaeological Mission, a number of ambassadors to Egypt from foreign counties, Egyptian members of parliament and top officials at the antiquities ministry.

Elham Salah, Head of the Museums Sector at the ministry, told Ahram Online that the exhibition will be on display for 30 days and will showcase 70 artifacts from the discoveries at Deir Al-Bersha, which were previously spread throught the museum’s various galleries or concealed in its basement.

“The artefacts will for the first time be displayed together,” she pointed out, revealing that the objects include the distinguished funerary collection from the tomb of Sepi III.

Among Sepi III's artefacts are the rectangular box coffins, inscribed with religious funerary texts, known as coffin texts, which helped the deceased to travel through the afterlife. Also among the displaed items are wooden models found in the tomb, which often depicting activities from daily life such as making food and drink.

The aim of such models was so that the deceased could enjoy these activities in eternity. Trays found in the tombs of Sepi I, Sepi III and Nehri I will also be on display. These trays, Salah said, are unique as they are made of painted cartonnage, consisting of a layer of gypsum.

The individual offerings on these trays are also made of cartonnage, painted in intricate detail, allowing for the easy identification of objects.

Sabah Abdel-Razek, General-Director of the Egyptian Museum, said that the site at Deir Al-Bersha is located 280 km south of Cairo and is best known as the burial place of the Middle Kingdom governors of el-Ashmunein (c. 2055-1650 BCE).

The governors built elaborately decorated tombs high on the North Hill of the Eastern Desert cliffs, while important officials were buried in tomb shafts in the vicinity of their lords.

The earliest excavations at Deir el-Bersha began in 1897 when the French Egyptologist Georges Daressy began exploring the site on behalf of the Egyptian Antiquities Service. His most spectacular find was the intact burial chamber of Sepi III.

The first Egyptian Egyptologist, Ahmed Kamal, continued to work at Deir el-Bersha from 1900-1902. He excavated several of the elite shaft tombs on the North Hill, including those of Amenemhat and Nehri I.

During their expeditions, she explains, Daressy and Kamal discovered an impressive collection of exemplary Middle Kingdom funerary equipment, such as wooden tomb models and decorated coffins. The majority of these objects are kept in the Egyptian Museum and many will be on display in this exhibit.

In 1915, American Egyptologist George Andrew Reisner excavated for two months at Deir el-Bersha. His most important discovery was the nearly intact tomb of governor Djehutinakht IV or V. Since 2002 KU Leuven University has resumed excavations at this site, reinvestigating several of the areas where these prior excavations took place.

KU Leuven University has also collaborated with the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz since 2009 on excavations of five large tomb shafts in front of the tomb of governor Djehutihotep, most of the contents of which are now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Re-Opening, Cairo: Egyptian Monuments Reopen

Three Mameluke monuments in Islamic Cairo are to be reopened to the public after restoration. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref. 
Three Mameluke-period monuments, the Al-Muayyedi Bimaristan, the Tekkeyet Al-Bustami and the Darb Al-Laban Gate in Islamic Cairo are to be reopened to the public next week after restoration work.

A Bimaristan is a Mameluke hospital, while a tekkeya is a Sufi charitable building. The buildings have been shrouded in scaffolding for the past three years as restoration work continues, with it being slated to finally come off next week.

The monuments, like others in heavily populated areas, were suffering from environmental dangers, including air pollution, high subsoil water levels, high levels of humidity, water leakage, the effects of a decayed sewerage system installed 100 years ago, and the adverse effects of the 1992 earthquake that increased the number of cracks in their walls, leading in some cases to partial collapse. 

“One of the most serious causes of the damage to the buildings has been encroachment from the monuments’ neighbours who used the tekkeya for example as a residential building and the bimaristan as a garbage dump,” Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, director of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project that supervised the work, told Al-Ahram Weekly.

He said the walls of the three monuments had cracked and partly collapsed, masonry was damaged, and the condition of the ceilings was critical. Decorations were heavily damaged and several parts were missing, while most of the flooring was broken.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany said the restoration had been carried out according to the latest scientific methods. “Every effort was made to ensure that all the original architectural features were retained,” he said, adding that the restoration of the buildings had had important advantages in that individual monuments were being preserved for future generations and the entire neighbourhood was being revived and upgraded.

Abdel-Aziz said that the aim of the restoration was mainly to strengthen and consolidate the monuments and protect them from future damage. The walls were reinforced, cracks were treated, façades were consolidated, missing and decayed stones were replaced, and masonry was cleaned and desalinated. Tilted pillars and walls were readjusted to their original positions, broken woodwork was re-installed and missing parts were replaced with others of the same shape, size and material.

The ceilings were consolidated and insulated with special material to prevent the leakage of rainwater into the monuments. A special system was also designed to accumulate rainwater in one place and feed it into the main sewage system.

The areas surrounding the three monuments were cleaned, restored and upgraded in order to be venues hosting cultural events as well as for holding workshops to raise the cultural awareness of their inhabitants.


The Al-Muayyedi Bimaristan was built by one of the most important Circassian Mameluke sultans to rule Egypt, Al-Muayyad Sheikh Al-Mahmoudi, who reigned between 1418 and 1420 CE. The Bimaristan is the second public hospital still remaining from the period after that of the Mameluke sultan Qalawun built in 1284 in Al-Muizz Street in Islamic Cairo…. READ MORE.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

News, Cairo: Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities to Restore Islamic Cairo's Al-Sharaybi Bathhouse

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities will restore the Al-Sharaybi bathhouse in Islamic Cairo in collaboration with the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, director-general of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project, told Ahram Online that the restoration project is funded by a grant from the Prince Claus Foundation.

Abdel-Aziz explains that the restoration project will be executed in two phases. The first will include the removal of all dust and garbage accumulated around the site and the consolidation of the bathhouse walls from inside and outside as well as the oven area, while the second phase will include the restoration of the building and its decorative elements.

The Al-Sharaybi bathhouse was constructed during the rule of Sultan Qonsua El-Ghouri in 1500 AD and is located in the El-Ghouria area. The Moroccan trader Mohamed Dada Al-Sharaybi was the original owner of the bathhouse.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

News, Cairo: Egyptian Museum Displays Works of Deir Al-Medina Artisans

The month-long exhibition, which marks the centenary of French excavations at Deir Al-Medina, opens on Thursday night. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square opens a temporary exhibition on Thursday night focused on the artisans of Luxor's Deir Al-Medina archaeological site.

Titled “The Artisans of the Pharaohs through their Artworks”, the month-long show also marks the centenary of French archaeological research, excavation and restoration at the site.

On show for the first time will be a collection of 52 artefacts discovered by the French mission at Deir Al-Medina, along with documents and photos from the archive of the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale (IFAO), Elham Salah, head of the museums sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online.


The artifacts, she explains, reflect the daily life, the faith and the funerary rituals of the Deir Al-Medina artisans. Among the most important objects are a statue of Sanejem, lintels of kings Amenhotep I and II, as well as a painted limestone ostraca.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

New Discovery, Cairo: Restoration of Cairo's Al-Imam Al-Shafie Dome Leads to New Archaeological Discovery

Ongoing efforts to conserve the dome of the Al-Imam Al-Shafie mosque in Old Cairo have uncovered sections of an intact lower wall forming part of an earlier shrine this week. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The previous shrine consisted of an open courtyard with three prayer niches attached to a domed hall. Also uncovered were decorated carved stucco features, coloured marble, stone flooring and fragments of a masonry dome.

Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Khaled el-Anany and the US Charge d’Affaires in Cairo Thomas H. Goldberger, along with top officials from the Egyptian ministry, embarked on Monday on a tour to inspect the latest conservation work on the dome and the excavations of the earlier shrine.

“This building pre-dates the current shrine of Al-Imam Al-Shafie, which was built by the Ayyubid Sultan Al-Kamil in the year 1211 AD and was built after Al-Imam Al-Shafie was buried there in 820 AD,” Mohamed Abdel Aziz, Director-General of Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project told Ahram Online. 

He added that the newly uncovered shrine is a significant addition to our understanding of the history of Islamic architecture and history in Egypt.

May Al-Ebrashi, Head of Athar Lina initiative, said that the excavations are part of a conservation project funded by the US Department of State’s Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation under the supervision of the Ministry of Antiquities.

The excavations fall within the work of Athar Lina, a national initiative to conserve Egypt’s heritage for the benefit of the community.

The project, she continued, began in March 2016 to resolve structural problems in the mosque's masonry walls and floors, as well as leaking roofs and the disintegration of decorative elements, most notably the decorated stucco exterior, carved and painted wood and coloured marble cladding.

The completed work so far has included extensive documentation, as well as physical crack repair in masonry walls, soil infill to correct subsidence (the sinking of soil under a structure), repair and insulation of wooden roofs and ceilings, repair of marble cladding, and the cleaning and restoration of decorative stucco facets.

Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Idris Al-Shafie was the founder of the Shafie madhab, one of the four major jurisprudential schools of Sunni Islam. A proponent of rational thought who is credited by some today as the originator of the scientific method, Al-Shafie dedicated his life to developing a comprehensive theory of jurisprudence that earned him the title the "Sea of Knowledge." He was also a great poet who wrote simply yet eloquently about the value of travel, learning and contemplation.

Historic sources mention that when he died, he was buried in the mausoleum of Ibn ‘Abd al-Hakam, an Arab tribe that came to Egypt with the Islamic conquest in the 7th century AD and settled there, becoming one of its most prominent families.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

News: Pharaonic Influences on Display at Egypt Art Show

Paintings by top Egyptian artists shared wall space with hieroglyphs and Pharaonic relics at Cairo's Egyptian Museum this week in an exhibition highlighting ancient influences on contemporary art.

Artists, intellectuals and ambassadors from around the world attended the Saturday night opening of "A night with Art at the Egyptian Museum", organised by the private Art D'Egypte organisation. The exhibition, at the museum on Cairo's iconic Tahrir square, will be open to the public until Tuesday. "We wanted to highlight the link between contemporary art and ancient Egyptian Pharaonic art," Art D'Egypte founder Nadine Abdel Ghaffar told AFP.

The modern paintings included abstract portraits and other works by prominent contemporary Egyptian artists such as Adel El Siwi, Mohamed Abla, Ghada Amer, Farouk Hosny and Hoda Lotfi. "This initiative shows that artistic creativity spans millennia reaching today," said Abla, who showed five paintings at the exhibition, reflecting ancient Egyptian influences. "Contemporary art is an extension of art by the Pharaonic ancestors," he said.

The show also includes interactive seminars on ancient Egyptian art and its influences on contemporary artists. Several prominent archaeologists and Egyptologists are to speak, including former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass. Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said it was important to preserve Egyptian heritage "because the antiquities belong to the entire world." The ageing Egyptian museum, which is undergoing renovation, was a key tourist attraction before a January 2011 uprising toppled autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak.

Visitors would wait in long lines outside its entrance, while the halls inside brimmed with foreign tourists and Egyptian visitors, including students on school trips. But Mubarak's ouster unleashed years of political turmoil and sent tourist numbers plummeting. During the uprising, which was centered in Tahrir Square just outside the museum, looters broke into the building, stealing and damaging several ancient treasures.

The fall in tourist numbers prompted the museum a few months ago to open its doors at night in the hope of attracting new visitors. Among its best-known exhibits are a golden funerary mask and other artifacts from the tomb of 18th dynasty Pharoah Tutankhamun. His belongings are among exhibits set to be transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum, a new facility currently under construction near the Giza Pyramids. Anani said the facility should open at least partially before the end of 2018.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

News, Cairo: Photo Exhibition on Belgian-Egyptian Relations Inaugurated Tuesday Evening

Under the title “150 years of Belgian Royal Visits to Egypt,” Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Belgian Ambassador to Egypt Sibille de Cartier inaugurated on Tuesday evening a photo exhibition highlighting the strong friendship between Egypt and Belgium. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Elham Salah, the head of the Museums Department at the antiquities ministry, told Ahram Online that the exhibition has on display a collection of 60 black-and-white as well as colour photos and manuscripts showing the history of Belgian royal visits to Egypt over the past 150 years.

“Spanning a period of more than a century-and-a-half, [the photos] offer a unique glimpse into the history of these royal visits and allow us to revisit the Egypt of yesteryear. 


King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth with King Fouad
They are an illustration of the longstanding and durable relations between the two countries,” De Cartier told Ahram Online.

Sabah Abdel-Razek, director of the Egyptian Museum, said that numerous photographs and rare manuscripts will be on display, most of them coming from the archives of the Belgian Royal Palace and shown for the first time in Egypt.

De Cartier said that Belgian royals have been travelling to Egypt since as early as 1855, whether for official visits or to marvel at the timeless and captivating beauty of the country’s ancient treasures. 

The year 1855 was when King Leopold II, then Duke of Brabant, visited the country for the first time. King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth also visited Egypt on several occasions between 1911 and 1930.

During these visits, the royal family toured Egypt and its treasures extensively. From 1977 to 2012, Prince Albert, the future King Albert II, and Prince Philippe, Belgium’s current sovereign, travelled to the country several times when they headed commercial missions.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

News, Cairo: Historic Bab Al-Azab Site to Get Facelift From ARCE-Funded Restoration Project

The Ministry of Antiquities is to start a restoration and rehabilitation project for Bab Al-Azab area in Mediaeval Cairo, the scene of Mohamed Ali Pasha's infamous massacre of the Mameluks. Written By/Nevine El-Aref.

The Permanent Committee for Islamic and Coptic Antiquities has approved a project for the restoration of Bab Al-Azab, part of a Ministry of Antiquities plan to restore and develop a series of monuments in Historic Cairo.

Mohamed Abdel Aziz, director-general of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project, said that the Bab Al-Azab restoration project is to be executed in three phases over a 10-month period, with a grant from the American Research Centre in Cairo (ARCE). He explained that the first phase aims to consolidate the monumental structures of Bab Al-Azab, as well as removing the debris and garbage that has accumulated in the vicinity.

The project will include minor restoration work on the two doors of the Bab Al-Azab, along with its woodwork and windows. The blocks of the walls will be maintained and consolidated in an attempt to prevent erosion prior to the start of comprehensive restoration work. The second phase, Abdel Aziz said, includes the full scientific documentation of every structure of the Bab Al-Azab, as well as preparing a plan for its restoration. Studies to rehabilitate the site and bring it back into use will also be provided. The third and final phase consists of workshops and seminars to prepare a plan for the preservation of the buildings. This will involve the establishment of a group of young archaeologists and architects, especially from the local community, to ensure the preservation, maintenance and rehabilitation of the area and its historic structures.

Bab Al-Azab is the gate that once protected the original entrance to the Citadel. It was rebuilt in 1754 by Abd el-Rahman Katkhuda, from which the brass-bound wooden doors date. The gate witnessed the massacre of the Mameluks conducted by Mohamed Ali Pasha in 1811.

New discovery, Sakkara: Hawass Announces New Archaeological Discovery in Saqarra

The Egyptian Mission working in the Saqqara antiquities area next to the pyramid of King Teti, the first king of the Sixth Dynasty of the ...