The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) announced, last Thursday, the installation of the world’s first hanging obelisk, according to sources at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
According to the ministry’s statement, the new design aims to provide the visitor with a unique view, as they will stand on a glass plate under their feet, resting on the base of the obelisk.
The Ministry added that the obelisk’s construction in front of the museum’s facade has been completed following its restoration. The obelisk is now a single unit, which visitors will see before entering the museum.
This design is the first of its kind in the world, let alone Egypt, and represents a very precise system that was made to protect the obelisk body from vibrations.
Visitors will be able to stand on the obelisk’s base, which will be suspended on four columns, and look directly into its interior, which has not been seen for more than 3,500 years. They will also be able to see visitors standing in the distance between the base of the obelisk on the ground, and its body raised above head-level.
Installing the obelisk represents a complex engineering process, as the ancient artefact must not be affected by any vibrations from modern transport. This includes vibrations from Cairo’s underground metro system after the completion of construction work, or from the movement of cars around the museum, the statement added.
The GEM, for which 97% of construction has been completed, is one of the world’s largest museums, and the largest museum dedicated to a single civilisation in the world. It will present more than 50,000 artefacts from Ancient Egypt, including the full collection of King Tutankhamun presented all together for the first time in history to the public.
In April 2020, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi took the decision to delay the opening of both the GEM and the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization to 2021, in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The museum will allow its visitors to move freely in a variety of ways between the museum and the nearby Giza Plateau, either on foot, or by golf-buggy or cable-car.