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Ancient wonders

A modern wonder set amid ancient architecture, myths and legends, the long awaited Grand Egyptian Museum, also known as the Giza Museum, will be the largest museum in the world – taking the torch from the Louvre in Paris – when it opens in an area between Cairo and the Great Pyramid of Giza this year.

In January 2002, the Egyptian government announced a worldwide competition for the design of a new museum complex to house, display, and preserve some of the world’s greatest ancient treasures of Egypt. The winner, Irish firm Heneghan Peng Architects, developed a modern design for what would become the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) and construction began in 2005. However, plagued by a number of setbacks, including the financial crisis of 2008, the Arab Spring in 2011, and Covid-19, the museum’s original deadline was pushed out by many years.

More than 20 years and almost a billion dollars later, the new museum will hold more than 100 000 treasures from Egypt’s history including King Tut’s entire treasure collection and a slew of artefacts from prehistoric times, through Egypt’s many thousands of years of pharaonic civilisation, as well as those from more ‘modern’ ancient Greek and Roman periods of Egyptian history. Among the historical treasures will be Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus, a 9-metre-tall, 3 200-year-old statue of Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses the Great, and the Khufu ship, a fully intact solar barge that was buried next to the Great Pyramid in 2 500 BC.

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*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.

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