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Newly-Opened NMEC Highlights Achievements of Egypt’s Civilization

1 March, 2017
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Located on the grounds of what was once the first capital of Egypt under Islamic rule, Al-Fustat, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) opened its doors to the public in mid-February, enticing tourists and locals to take a walk through Egypt’s heritage.

Dubbed a partial opening, as some of the museum’s attachments remain under construction, Antiquities Minister Khaled Al-Anany and UNESCO Chief Irina Bokova attended the soft launch of the museum’s first exhibit, titled “Egyptian handicrafts through the ages". The exhibit, located on two floors in the museum’s largest gallery, showcases Egypt’s founding knowledge in the making of pottery, jewelry, textiles and wood carpentry.

The museum has been long in the making. Construction on the site began in 2004, over two decades after UNESCO had launched an international campaign for its establishment in 1982. Plans for the museum were adopted during the Hosni Mubarak-era, alongside plans for the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum and Nubia Museum.   

NMEC was originally slated to open in the fall of 2011; however, political turmoil stemming from the January 25 Revolution disrupted the schedule and subsequently delayed the museum’s reveal to the public.

“NMEC will present a comprehensive view of Egyptian civilization from prehistory to the present day taking a multidisciplinary thematic approach designed to highlight Egypt’s tangible and intangible heritage,” according to UNESCO, which has provided technical support for the project.

Exhibits and galleries hosted by the museum will put Egypt’s civilization on display, showcasing how Egyptians were pioneers in ancient technology. It is structured around a core exhibition hall, with forthcoming extensions that would make the museum interactive, including a planned archaeological path, outdoor amphitheater, and pathway to the nearby lake.

According to NMEC’s Facebook page, the museum aims to act as a cultural center, and will in the future organize programs that include films, concerts, theater performances, and other forms of entertainment that will depict how the Egyptian civilization of the past is still alive and thriving. The museum will also include an educational and research center.

The space occupied by the museum extends from Al-Fustat Street to Ain as Sirah Lake. Constructed by Egyptian architect Ghazzali Kosseiba and Japanese interior designer Arata Isozaki, the complex is surrounded by inverted pyramids perched above the ground, all of which lead up to the museum’s entrance, a building that also adorns a large pyramid structure at its top.  

Ticket prices will be set at EGP 30 for Egyptians and EGP 60 for foreign tourists. 

The hallway entering the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization / Credit: Facebook

Tags National Museum of Egyptian Civilization civilization museum Ancient Egypt