5 April 2009
Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), and Magdi al-Qobaisi, governor of the Red Sea recently laid the foundation stone of a new national museum in Hurghada. The museum is expected to open in 2012 at the cost of LE150 million.
“Establishing such a museum is part of the project planned by the SCA to establish museums in the several regions of Egypt. Hurghada is one of the most important tourist destinations on the Red Sea”, Dr Hawass said.
He added that it was important to build a museum of high historical, monumental and ethnic value to suit such an important and vital city. Hawass promised to show the mask of Tutankhamun for the first three months of the new museum, in addition to the 5,000 main antiquities that will reflect life in the Red Sea area long ago. Some of the antiquities were discovered by Egyptian and foreign missions, and some were found near the Red Sea coast and were preserved in SCA storerooms.
The new museum will contain antiquities from the Prehistoric, Pharaonic, Greek and Roman periods through the Coptic and Islamic eras.
…And in Sharm
The SCA has already finished the first stage of Sharm al-Sheikh Museum which includes the main building and the administrative buildings. As for the second stage, which includes planning the general site and the garden, this will start soon. Sharm al-Sheikh Museum will house 7,000 antiquities from the pharaonic up to the Mohamed Ali Dynasty.
The museological display prepared for the new museum will focus on the importance of this tourist city and the coast and will date back to the ancient Egyptian era. One of these sites is the Roman port at Wadi al-Gawasees, where in 1976 explorers found a stone on which was engraved the name of King Senusert III. Mohamed Abdel-Fattah, head of the SCA’s museum section, declared. There was also a limestone box with the titles of the Shipmaster Ankho and of a minister in the reign of the Twelfth-Dynasty pharaoh Senusert I [1974 to 1929 BC]. There are also fragments of ostraca with hieratic inscriptions dating back to the reigns of Senusert I and Senusert III.
Shops and parking
The Hurghada Museum project will include showrooms, restoration laboratories, stores, and an administrative building containing rooms for visual preparation and museum education. There will also be an area for services, and bazaars.
The governor has already approved the allocation of an area for a parking lot opposite the museum.
The museum design is derived from the shape of a marine fossil shell to reflect the relationship between the museum and the nature of the city, said Ahmed Mito, the project treasurer. He added that the museum would be provided with modern systems including video screens, cold lights, theft and fire security, and a library.