Feature: Egypt to integrate leisure, cultural tourism in Sharm el-Sheikh resort via under-construction museum
by Marwa Yahya
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Located in the Red Sea's most famous resort, Sharm el-Sheikh Museum is expected to promote the integration of cultural and beach tourism.
Covering 190,000 square meters, the museum is divided into two large galleries with six displaying halls, administrative building, cafeteria, restaurants, stores, bazaars, open-air theatre and rest house for the security men, said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
"So far 5,120 pieces have been transferred to the museum and the whole work continues apace ahead of the official partial opening in a few weeks," Waziri told Xinhua.
The museum is expected to display 6,000 pieces from ancient Roman and Chinese civilizations along with some modern artifacts of Egypt's desert life, he highlighted.
The council's top official explained that the work has been resumed over the past three years after it was suspended in 2011, adding that the construction so far has cost 600 million Egyptian pounds (nearly 37 million U.S. dollars).
The most important pieces in the museum are the granite head of King Tuthmosis II, two wooden boats belonging to King Senusret III from the Middle Kingdom, mummies of lions' cubs, mongoose, scarab, and birds.
"The museum aims to encourage foreign visitors to see our heritage and old civilization without heading to the capital or Upper Egyptian cities," said Mahmoud Mabrouk, advisor to the minister of tourism and antiquities for exhibition design.
Mabrouk stressed that the museum is distinguished because it narrates the old daily activities of ordinary people rather than the lives of kings and queens.
"The exhibition scenario in the museum will illustrate the daily life of the ancient Egyptian during the New Kingdom," Mabrouk said, noting that the museum focuses on displaying ancient Egyptian's interest in the wildlife and respect for animals.
He added that there is much interest given, with regards to the display scenario, to other civilizations that passed through Egypt like the Greek-Roman which stayed here for 973 years.
"Some 33,000 baths, that were resembling clubs, have been discovered in Egypt, so we chose to build the same model and fill it with the Greek famous sculptures," he said.
He explained that other pieces from the Othmanian empire and the desert life of Sinai tribes will be exhibited in the new museum, asserting that "zigzag glass boxes illustrating the Chinese Silk Road are designed to connect all these civilizations together."
He indicated that the Silk Road has provided the world with secrets of printing, silk, and drawing on plates. "The Chinese ancient road was linking Asia with Europe through Egypt and trading splendid types of faience and ceramic," according to Mabrouk.
The civilizations were not living in isolation. Each one has been integrating with another, he added.
During a recent inspection tour to the Red Sea's resorts of Sharm el-Sheik and Hurghada, Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled al-Anany, also visited the Hurghada museum to follow the anti-COVID-19 precautionary measures ahead of its reopening in July.
Egypt will resume its international air traffic across the country and tourism in three provinces from July 1, after more than three months of international flight suspension over COVID-19 concerns. Enditem
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