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September 7, 2019

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Doors of Egypt’s closed museums open again

EGYPT’S Tanta Museum, famous for its collection of ancient coins, has been reopened by the Ministry of Antiquities.

The five-floor museum in Gharbiya province, north of the capital Cairo, which had been closed since 2000, is home to more than 2,000 prehistoric, Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic and Islamic artifacts, almost half of which are ancient coins.

“The Tanta Museum is one of the oldest regional museums in Egypt, as it was established in 1913,” said Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anany at a media conference during the inauguration ceremony. “Its reopening is part of the ministry’s plan to reopen closed museums nationwide.”

The museum will hopefully attract tourists to the district. Tanta is considered to be the most civilized and urbanized Egyptian city after Cairo and Alexandria. It is designated as the third-largest city in the Nile Delta.

The restoration cost about 13 million Egyptian pounds (US$786,000).

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 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 of the ministry’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the museum was open until 1957, then it closed and later reopened in 1990.

It closed again in 2000 because of “some problems in the building,” according to Waziri.

“In July 2017, we started working on repairing the museum,” Waziri said. “It is distinguished by having artifacts dating back to different eras discovered in the Nile Delta region around the province.”

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 the Tanta Museum will not only feature artifacts but will also host 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,” he said. “This role will be maximized after the reopening of the museum.”


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