The Mallawi museum in the town of Mallawi in Minya, Upper Egypt, which was attacked and looted by an Islamist mob some 10 days ago, received yesterday a surprise visit from the Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim.
The Minister had been on a tour which began at al-Wadi al-Gadid (the New Valley) in the Western Desert, to check on archaeological sites and museums. He visited Minya on his way back to Cairo.
Dr Ibrahim inspected the Ashmonein museum in the village of Ashmonein in the vicinity of Mallawi. The area is home to antiquity storehouses in which thousands of antiquities are stored, and includes a gallery built by the armed forces according to the global standards and handed over to the Antiquities Ministry last year. It is now ready for opening.
Dr Ibrahim also inspected the area of Tuna al-Gabal, which houses prominent monuments most of which date back to the Greco-Roman era. The region includes extended underground passages and catacombs where a statue of the local god Thoth who is among the most important deities of the Egyptian pantheon, was placed. The site also includes the tomb of the Greek goddess Isadora.
In the Mallawi museum, Dr Ibrahim saw the damaged antiquities which the mob could not carry way, and the shattered showcases. He found there a group of young volunteer restorers from the Mallawi youth salon, led by the Egyptologist Monica Hanna, who were working to restore 45 pieces of antiquities.
The Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Antiquities Mustafa Amin said that some 1050 pieces of artefacts had gone missing from the museum, out of a total 1980 pieces. The pieces the mob did not rob are in the main part mummies and sarcophaguses, which they destroyed. According to Abdel-Aziz Qoura, security chief in Minya, 108 of the robbed pieces have been found. They are pieces which go back to the Greco-Roman era.