UNESCO adds Egyptian Museum in Cairo to its World Heritage Tentative List

Nehal Samir
3 Min Read

The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added the Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to its World Heritage Tentative List. 

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities applied, last February, in accordance with the established criteria for registering such sites.

Abdel Mohsen Shafi’i, Supervisor of the Central Department for International and Public Relations at the ministry, stated that, during the process, the latter was keen to highlight the special status that the museum enjoys.

It noted that the museum serves as a cultural beacon in the heart of Cairo, and acts as a witness to Egyptian civilisation. 

He said that the Egyptian Museum is the first national museum in the Middle East, and includes the largest and most important archaeological treasures of the Ancient Egyptian civilisation. 

It is also a unique landmark that has played an important role in educating and disseminating archaeological awareness of the various eras of Egyptian society. 

The museum additionally has a library and archive that contains rare documents and books in the field of Egyptology. It holds a great position as a source of living heritage.

For her part, Sabah Abdel Razek, Director General of the Egyptian Museum, said that the building is unique in being an exceptional architectural example. It is also one of the first architectural buildings specifically constructed to become a museum, distinguished by its unique design and engineering achievement. 

The museum was built by the French architect Marcel Dornon, whose classical Greco-Roman design beat 87 other rivals to be chosen. The foundation stone of the museum was laid in 1897, with the museum finally inaugurated on 15 November 1902, during the reign of Khedive Abbas Hilmi. 

It is reported that a project is currently being implemented to develop the exhibition area in the Egyptian Museum, through a short-term and long-term plan.

The museum joins a long list of Egyptian sites registered on the UNESCO Tentative List, which includes a number of unique cultural and natural heritage sites across the country.

This includes sites in Minya governorate, the Ras Muhammad Reserve in South Sinai, the Nilometer on Cairo’s Roda Island, the monasteries of the Western Desert, and the ancient Sinai castles.

Egypt has seven sites registered on the World Heritage List, including: the Memphis and its Necropolis; Ancient Thebes and its Necropolis; Nubian Monuments; Historic Cairo; Saint Catherine Area; Abu Mena Monastery; and the Wadi El Hitan (Whales Valley) in Fayoum.

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