Sunday, November 8, 2020
During a ceremony held in Sharm El-Sheikh this week, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi inaugurated a raft of educational, cultural, and infrastructure projects, among them three museums in different governorates: the Sharm El-Sheikh Museum in South Sinai, the Kafr Al-Sheikh Museum in Kafr Al-Sheikh, and the Royal Carriage Museums in Cairo.
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Enany described the openings as an exceptional event in the history of tourism and antiquities in Egypt, particularly as the three museums, with a cumulative budget of almost LE1 billion, were officially inaugurated in one day.
They highlighted the support of the political leadership for Egypt’s tourism and antiquities sectors and its support to protect and preserve the country’s history, monuments, and distinguished past civilisations, he said.
The Sharm El-Sheikh Museum is the first antiquities museum to be built in Sinai. The idea of building a museum in Sharm El-Sheikh started in 1999, and actual construction work began in 2003, though it stopped in 2011 in the aftermath of the 25 January Revolution.
Work resumed in early 2018, and it has now been completed to a budget of LE812 million. The museum puts on display around 5,200 artefacts, ranging from the pre-historic period to modern times, as well as showing the rich urban and tribal culture of Sinai inhabitants.
It is a cultural hub for all civilisations and a new tourist attraction in this coastal city that now combines cultural with leisure tourism.
The museum aims to shed light on the role played by Egyptian civilisation across different historical periods, as well as highlighting the relationship between the Egyptian people and their surrounding environment and their cultural interactions with other civilisations.
Mahmoud Mabrouk, the designer of the museum’s displays, said that he had aimed to provide a “light cultural meal” for visitors to the area who had come to enjoy the warm sun and beaches. He said the artefacts on show had been carefully selected according to the highest standards in order to reflect the ways in which the ancient Egyptians had lived thousands of years ago.
“Wildlife and how the ancient Egyptians respected animals are also shown through a collection of animal statues and mummies,” Mabrouk told Al-Ahram Weekly, explaining that the ancient Egyptians had rendered homage to various creatures by capturing their nature, adopting them as symbols of deities, and integrating them within their beliefs and myths.
Mabrouk said that tourists visiting the new museum would have a good idea of how the ancient Egyptians had lived and how life had developed through the different ages. The second hall of the museum displays items from all the civilisations that Egypt has hosted through its long history, for example, and is called the “Hall of Civilisations”.
This presents artefacts from the Graeco-Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods, in addition to objects from civilisations that did not settle in Egypt, but passed through on the ancient Silk Roads between Asia and Europe, such as a collection of porcelain vases and plates.
A complete Roman bath is on display. When the Romans came to Egypt in the first century BCE, Mabrouk said, they had set up popular baths, including steam rooms, discussion rooms, and bathing areas, and these had survived into the later Islamic era.
Part of the magnificent bedroom of princess Shewikar, a member for the former royal family of Egypt, is on display, its green colour decorated with golden foliage motifs setting off chandeliers and showcases displaying jewelry and cosmetics once belonging to this member of the former ruling Mohamed Ali family.
Desert life, such as tents from Sinai and the Siwa Oasis equipped with daily life objects, is also illustrated in the gallery.
Ten items from the collection of ancient Egyptian boy-king Tutankhamun are also on display before they are moved to the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) on the Pyramids Plateau. A statue of Ka, a consort of Tutankhamun, is among the most important of these.
Moemen Othman, head of the ministry’s Museums Sector, said that the new museum had dedicated a hall to the ancient Egyptian afterlife where a complete example of an ancient tomb with its funerary collection was on show to explain ideas of the afterlife and what it represented to the ancient Egyptians.
As the River Nile crosses the country from south to north, Mabrouk said, it was little wonder that the main means of transportation in ancient Egypt was by boat. Boats played a major role in commercial links and cultural communication between Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean Basin, and their importance is also reflected in the religious ceremonies and funerary processions of the ancient Egyptian kings in order to allow the souls of the deceased to accompany the sun god Ra on the voyage into the afterlife.
For this reason, two ancient Egyptian boats from Dahshour were on show in the Sharm El-Sheikh collection, he concluded.
THE KAFR AL-SHEIKH MUSEUM: The Kafr Al-Sheikh Museum, also opened this week, displays a collection of distinguished artefacts showing the diversity of Egyptian civilisation through different ages.
The idea to build a museum in Kafr Al-Sheikh started as early as 1992 when the governorate allocated a plot of land to host it. Work started in 2003, but stopped in 2011, and then resumed in 2018 with a budget of LE62 million.
The new museum is located in the Sanaa Gardens next to Kafr Al-Sheikh University and reflects the role that the city played in different periods, focusing on its position as a capital of Egypt during the ancient period.
The governorate once included the ancient towns of Buto and Sakha, the oldest political capitals in human history. Both towns were not only associated with the ancient Egyptian monarchy as capitals of Egypt, but were also associated with the goddess Isis during the conflict between the deities Horus and Seth.
Sakha is one of the stops that the Holy Family made during their flight into Egypt following king Herod’s edict on the birth of Jesus.
The new museum displays antiquities discovered in the Kafr Al-Sheikh governorate, especially antiquities from Tel Al-Faraeen and Buto. The Kafr Al-Sheikh governorate is one of the governorates of the Delta, and it includes a number of archaeological sites dating back to the ancient Egyptian, Roman, Coptic and Islamic eras.
There are more than 50 archaeological mounds in the governorate, and the most famous remains in the province are from Buto, the capital of Lower Egypt in ancient times before unification, in the shape of statues made of basalt of a sphinx and of the god Horus. There is also a black granite plate from the reign of king Thutmose III.
The city of Sakha includes the Church of the Virgin, and there is also a slab said to bear the footprint of Jesus. The city of Fuwah, located on the Nile, is famous for its handmade carpets and includes a group of mosques and archaeological settlements.
The new museum exhibition tells the story of the ancient gods Isis and Osiris, and the conflict between Horus and Seth, and visitors can learn about the history of the area and see objects that recount the history of science in ancient Egypt, especially regarding medicine, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, engineering, astronomy, agriculture, trade and hunting.
THE ROYAL CARRIAGES MUSEUMS: This museum, located on 26 July Street in Boulaq in Cairo, was inaugurated this week after years of closure for restoration and development with a budget of LE63 million.
Its distinguished early 20th-century architecture and its beautiful entrance now add elegance to this crowded area of Cairo, with the museum reopening its doors to enable visitors to admire the exquisite royal carriages of members of the former ruling Mohamed Ali family.
Restoration work on the museum was started in 2001, but was halted in 2011 and only resumed in 2017. The museum building, in poor condition, has been rehabilitated, the walls and foundations consolidated, and facades and decorative elements restored. New lighting and security systems have been installed.
Othman said the museum put on show a collection of royal carriages along with accessories and horse-guard uniforms. The items are distributed across five halls. The first holds the carriage that the French empress Eugenie gifted to the khedive Ismail on the occasion of the official opening of the Suez Canal in the late 19th century, while the second displays rare carriages whose designs are known as alay and half-alay.
The third hall is the core of the museum and displays ceremonial carriages once used by members of the former royal family for weddings, funerary occasions, and promenades. Portraits depicting members of the royal family are also exhibited. The fourth hall is dedicated to the uniforms of the chevaliers and riders who accompanied the carriages, while the fifth and last hall shows accessories used to decorate the carriages and horses, such as horseshoes, bridles and saddles.
The museum was established during the reign of the khedive Ismail in the late 19th century and was at first called the Department of the Khedival Carriages before being changed to the Management of the Royal Stables. After the 1952 Revolution, the building was named the Royal Carriages Museum.
The museum was originally created not only to display royal carriages, but also the horses of the khedive Ismail and those owned by members of the royal family. Experts and veterinarians were brought from across the world to take care of the horses, and valuable cars from world-class brands were also exhibited.
In 1969, the Cairo governorate took over three-quarters of the museum and transformed it into a garage. This work has now been reversed, allowing visitors to see the museum once again in its former splendour.
Monday, November 2, 2020
The minister’s remarks came during President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s inauguration of the museums, which are the Sharm El-Sheikh Museum, the Kafr El-Sheikh Museum, and the Royal Carriages Museum in Cairo. Combined, the establishment of the new museums cost nearly EGP 1bn.
During his speech, Al-Anani reviewed the state’s efforts in the field of museum sector, development and restoration of archaeological sites, and archaeological missions in Egypt.
The minister also presented the working plan for the museums that were inaugurated on Saturday.
Sharm El-Sheikh Museum
Al-Anani said that the Sharm El-Sheikh Museum is the first museum of antiquities in the Red Sea resort.
The idea of establishing the museum, located on an area of 191,000 sqm, dates back to 1999. Work on the project began in 2003, before stopping in 2011 during the 25 January Revolution. Work on the EGP 812m museum then resumed in 2018.
The museum includes three halls for displays, in addition to an entertainment area that includes a number of restaurants, bazaars, traditional crafts shops, an open theatre and squares for celebrations and events.
Kafr El-Sheikh Museum
The minister said that the Kafr El-Sheikh Museum is the first museum of antiquities in the ancient governorate.
The idea of establishing the museum dates back to 1992, after Kafr El-Sheikh Governorate allocated a 6,800 sqm plot of land inside the Sana’a Park.
This would be used to establish a national museum documenting cultural heritage, and aims to spread archaeological and cultural awareness of the Kafr El-Sheikh Governorate’s heritage, and for the nearby governorates.
The construction work on the museum began in 2002, but was stopped in 2011, before being completed in 2018.
This took place after a cooperation protocol between the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and Kafr El-Sheikh Governorate was signed in 2017, with the total cost of the project reaching EGP 62m.
The museum consists of three main exhibition halls, displaying artefacts from the excavations at the Tell Al-Faraeen archaeological area, in addition to other archaeological areas from Kafr El-Sheikh Governorate.
Royal Carriages Museum
Al-Anani also spoke of the opening of the restoration and development project for the Royal Carriages Museum.
It is considered one of the oldest quality museums in the world and one of the most important vehicle museums in the world.
The idea of establishing the museum dates back to the reign of Khedive Ismail in the second half of the 19th Century. During this period, a building was designated for Khedivial chariots and horses in Bulaq, and was initially called the Khedivial Stirrup Department.
During the reign of King Fuad I, the building was renamed the Administration of the Royal Stables. The building was converted into a historical museum after the July 1952 revolution.
In 2002, the museum was closed to commence with an integrated restoration and development project, but the project ground to a halt in 2011.
Work resumed again in 2018. The museum, which cost a total of EGP 63m, covers a total area of 6175 sqm, and consists of several halls.
Al-Anani affirmed that work resumed at the three museums following a years-long hiatus since 2011, based on presidential directives.
There has been an emphasis on giving utmost importance to all projects for the maintenance, restoration and security of Egyptian antiquities, and the development and establishment of major and regional museums.
Khaled el-Enany, Egypt's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, gave a speech during President Abd El-Fatah El-Sisi’s inauguration of three new museums in three different governorates Saturday.
They are the museums of Sharm El-Sheikh, Kafr El-Sheikh and the Royal Chariots museum in Cairo.
This emphasizes the unprecedented support Egypt gives to the tourism and antiquities sector.
In addition to showcasing Egypt’s unparalleled history and civilization through the establishment of museums that tell the story of this unique civilization and its different historical eras.
Enany, said in his word "that today is an exceptional day in the history of Egyptian tourism and antiquities, as 3 important museums are opened in the governorates of Sharm El-Sheikh, Kafr El-Sheikh and Cairo, at a cost of nearly L.E 1 billion."
During the speech, the minister implored the state’s efforts in museum projects, development and restoration of archaeological sites and archaeological work in Egypt.
In addition to that, he presented the work progress of the three museums that were inaugurated.
Enany pointed out that the Sharm El-Sheikh Museum is the first museum of antiquities in the picturesque coastal city of Sharm El-Sheikh.
He added that work started in the museum in 2003 and then stopped in 2011. He said that Kafr El-Sheikh Museum too, is the first museum of antiquities in the ancient governorate of Kafr El Sheikh, stating work started in it in 2002 and then stopped in 2011.
Enany talked about the opening of the restoration and development project of the Royal Carriages Museum, which is one of the oldest museums in the world and one of the most important carriage museums in the world.
Moreover, he said that its restoration and development project started back in in 2002 and that it stopped in 2011.
The minister further said that work was resumed in the three museums due to the directives of Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, after it was halted for years since 2011.
He added that the president directed the government to give all projects of maintenance, restoration, preservation and protection of Egyptian monuments, in addition to the development and establishment of major and regional museums utmost importance.
In addition, Enany explained that "today’s openings show the political and financial support the political leadership gives to preserving the heritage and antiquities of Egypt; and to building and developing museums."
He also said that the resumption of work in all antiquities and museum projects, that have been suspended for years, contributes to providing a diverse tourism infrastructure in all governorates.
In addition to that, it creates new tourist attractions and offerings. Those diversified offerings cater the various interests of tourists.
He added that Sharm El Sheikh Museum and Hurghada Museum, both offer visitors and tourists a unique experience and an opportunity to enjoy Egypt’s beautiful beaches and at the same time learn about the ancient Egyptian civilization; mixing leisure and culture.
The minister concluded his speech by reiterating that the museums that were opened will contribute to increasing the tourism in addition to archaeological awareness of Egyptians, especially children and youth, to get to know the rich and unique civilization of their country.
After the opening of the Sharm El-Sheikh Museum, the minister took a memorial photo with all the museum employees in appreciation of their relentless efforts to carry through work in the the museum until its official opening became a reality.
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