Egypt puts culture on the agenda

A mask of Anubis, the ancient Egyptian god of death

EGYPT is ramping up its cultural offerings with the country’s culture ministry aiming to build a museum in every city in the country so as to preserve its heritage and raise cultural and archaeological awareness among residents and visitors.

Developments underway include the building of the Grand Egyptian Museum, National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation and Al Arish National Museum, and renovations of the Rashid National Museum, Coptic Museum and Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria.
The $350 million Grand Egyptian Museum, expected to attract five million visitors annually, will be the world’s largest with around 150,000 artefacts when it opens in 2010 – making it larger than New York’s Metropolitan or London’s British Museum. Work on the project is due to start next year on a 50-hectare area of land two kilometres from the Pyramids.
The National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation will display and interpret artefacts unique to Egyptian culture and history, from the Pharaohs to today. The project is in co-operation with UNESCO and the second phase of construction is now underway.
Says Ahmed El Khadem, Chairman of the Egyptian Tourist Authority: “Egyptian history never stands still for one moment, and we are always looking at new ways to promote our rich heritage. These projects will undoubtedly provide visitors with a fascinating and lasting insight into our culture.”
Another historically striking attraction is the Rashid National Museum, with its Islamic and Ottoman period monuments, has been renovated after two years at a cost of EGP7 million ($1.2 million). The Coptic Museum has also been upgraded, and now houses 15,000 monuments in 26 halls.