Egypt reopens museum in northern Cairo after 19 years of closure
GHARBIYA, Egypt, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities reopened on Saturday Tanta Museum in Gharbiya province north of the capital Cairo for visitors after 19 years of closure.
The five-floor museum, which has been closed since 2000, is home to over 2,000 prehistoric, Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic and Islamic artifacts, almost half of which are ancient coins.
"Tanta Museum is one of the oldest regional museums in Egypt, as it was established in 1913. Its reopening is part of the ministry's plan to reopen closed museums nationwide," said Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anany in a press conference during the inauguration ceremony.
The minister noted that the museum's restoration cost about 13 million Egyptian pounds (about 786,000 U.S. dollars) and it will contribute to adding the province to Egypt's map of tourist destinations.
The first floor serves as an entrance of the museum, with a showcased royal head of an Egyptian king dating back to the Late Period of ancient Egypt.
The second and third floors contain the main halls for displaying the archeological objects, including a headless basalt statue of a king of the 29th Dynasty, a block limestone statue of a priest from the Late Period, a collection of small statues of ancient Egyptian gods, bronze statues of wrestlers from the Greco-Roman Period, as well as Coptic and Islamic artifacts.
Mostafa Waziri, head the ministry's Supreme Council of Antiquities, explained that the museum was open until 1957, then it was closed and later reopened in 1990 until it was closed once again in 2000 due to some problems in the building.
"In July 2017, we started working on repairing the museum. It is distinguished by having artifacts dating back to different eras discovered in the Nile Delta region around the province," Waziri told Xinhua at Tanta Museum.
The fourth floor of the museum contains a main hall for lectures, symposiums, conferences and social activities, while the fifth floor has the administrative offices.
Emad Bedir, the museum's manager, said that Tanta Museum not only features artifacts but it also holds several activities to increase people's awareness of their country's civilization and heritage.
"During its closure, we continued holding such activities inside the museum in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Tanta University, specialized civil society centers and orphanages. This role will be maximized after the reopening of the museum," Bedir told Xinhua.
The opening ceremony was attended by the governor of Gharbiya and several parliamentarians from the province.