|QALYOUBIYA (Xinhua) -- Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anany and some other officials visit an archaeological site in Egypt’s Delta governorate of Qalyoubiya, 30 km north of Cairo, capital of Egypt, on Jan. 8, 2017. During the visit to a number of archaeological sites in Qalyoubiya, Anany said the government is keen to preserve its ancient treasures that date back centuries ago. Egypt, one of the most ancient civilizations, has been working hard to protect its archaeological heritage and discover the secrets of the archaeology of Pharaohs and other ancient civilizations across the country. XINHUA PHOTO: ZHAO DINGZHE|
|Egypt welcomes archaeological conservation, exhibition with China|
By Mahmoud Fouly CAIRO (Xinhua) -- Excavation works and artifact discoveries have recently flourished in Egypt and China, Tarek Tawfik, general director and head supervisor of the still under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Tawfik hailed potential future cooperation with China in relevant fields, stressing that “Both Egyptian and Chinese ancient civilizations started along the banks of great rivers and have many aspects in common.”
The idea to establish the GEM was initiated in 2001 due to the inadequate capacity of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo with its packed artifacts, in addition to continuous artifact discoveries nationwide.
Egyptians are currently racing against time for the project’s soft opening anticipated in early 2018 and to meet the grand opening schedule before the end of 2022.
The GEM’s capacity can accommodate 100,000 artifacts, 50,000 in constant display and another 50,000 in modern storehouses which can be easily accessed for archaeological studies and researches.
Among the 50,000 pieces in future display, 30,000 have never been previously exhibited.
The “GEM star” is slated to be the ancient Egyptian young King Tutankhamun, whose tomb was discovered in 1922 in western Luxor by British archeologists Howard Carter and George Herbert.
As for the GEM structure, only a third of the total area of almost half a million square meters will become premises, while the museum display area will be about 45,000 square meters.
The soft opening in early 2018 will be on a 15,000-square-meter area, “which is still larger than the current display area in the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir.”
The soft opening will start with the “grand staircase” which will transport visitors from the GEM’s entrance to the display halls.
Featured in the forefront are some 100 huge artifacts, such as standing statues of pharaohs similar to that of King Ramses II and huge segments of ancient temples.
Also included is a display of King Tut’s complete artifacts set.
When work on the GEM project started in 2010, the Conservation Center was established first to receive artifacts from all over the country for restoration, maintenance and display.