Egypt's tourism ministry gives update on Grand Egyptian Museum

Work on the museum's exhibition halls will be completed by September 30 ahead of eagerly awaited opening

The statue of King Ramses II is seen after it was transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, Egypt September 21, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
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Final construction work on the interior of the hotly anticipated Grand Egyptian Museum will be completed by the end of September so that staff can begin preparing to welcome visitors, Egypt's tourism ministry has said.

In an update on progress at the site — one of the largest national projects of the government of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi — the ministry on Monday said construction work on the museum's exterior and surrounding area is expected to be fully completed by June 30.

Work on the museum’s exhibition halls, which are expected to display the treasures of one of ancient Egypt’s most recognisable pharaohs — King Tutankhamun — alongside a variety of other relics for the first time ever, will also be completed by September 30, the ministry said in a statement.

“It is paramount that everything be completed by September 30 to provide as much time as possible for the ministry to conduct a dry run of the museum's facilities,” the ministry said.

Egypt's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled El Anany, “has expressly mandated that all the preparations for the museum's opening be completed by their deadlines, both inside the museum and out,” the ministry said in a statement.

The museum, which will be the largest in the world dedicated to a single civilisation, was meant to open in November last year but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

An Egyptian construction worker at the site of Egypt’s Grand Museum, just outside Cairo. AP photo

The museum is expected to transform the nearby Giza plateau — home to the famed pyramids and Egypt's most-visited site — into a modern tourism hub.

One of the most anticipated exhibits is a separate showroom for the recently relocated Khufu solar boat, which was moved in an ostentatious ceremony from the Giza plateau where it was unearthed to the new museum in August of last year.

In preparation for the large numbers of visitors expected to travel to the site, two of the main motorways surrounding the GEM complex have been undergoing significant renovations in the past few weeks.

A view of a smart vehicle, the first boat of King Khufu, discovered in 1954 at the southern corner of the Great Pyramid, that has terminated its journey at the Grand Egyptian Museum. EPA

Hotels and other businesses catering to tourists in the vicinity of the museum are also being revamped before the opening, with the renovation of the surrounding area also expected to be completed by June 30, the ministry said.

Monday's update on the museum opening followed a meeting of the country’s top tourism officials, during which the road map for the opening of the GEM was finalised.

The ministry’s timeline suggests that it will stick to its rumoured November opening for the Grand Egyptian Museum, which would also coincide with the centenary of the excavation of the tomb of King Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in 1922.

The ministry said that a campaign to promote the museum as a new destination for tourists would begin after work on its interior was completed and include documentary films and a social media campaign.

Updated: May 16, 2022, 6:20 PM
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