The Egyptian government will unveil what will be the world’s largest archeological museum. Needless to say, it will be worth visiting.
The Sphinx and Pyramid and Camel, Cairo, Egypt
Before the Roman Empire, which stretched from the Antonine Wall in Scotland all the way to the Persian Gulf in Kuwait; before Greece, whose Acropolis symbolizes the beginning of Western civilization and culture, and before the Babylonian Empire, whose Hanging Gardens continue to fascinate us, Egypt and her pharaohs had had a glorious rule and left footprints on the sands of time, footprints that time and tide have not been able to erase.
Within her boundaries are to be found one of the richest collections of ancient ruins in the world. From the high stones of the Pyramid of Giza, one her most famous attractions, more than four thousand years of human history look down upon us. Her treasures are vast and valuable.
Here’s the tantalizing bit. Visitors will soon be able to see many of these treasures at the Grand Egyptian Museum set to open in 2023.
A Brief History Of The Grand Egyptian Museum
To deal with infrastructural limitations of the institutions displaying Egypt’s treasures, the Egyptian government, in 1992, announced the launch of a project to establish the Grand Egyptian Museum.
Ten years later in 2002, an architectural competition was announced to pick the GEM’s designer. The Heneghan Peng Architects architecture firm beat more than 1,500 architectural firms from 83 different countries to win the bid.
The project was to be completed in mid-2012. However, it has experienced several delays including the one occasioned by the 25 January Revolution.
However, the wait is expected to end this year 2023 when the Egyptian government will unveil what will be the world’s largest archeological museum.
Why The Grand Egyptian Museum Will Be A World Marvel
If the abbreviated name of the Grand Egyptian Museum, the GEM, is anything to go by, this Egyptian museum is a jewel that will be worth visiting. It’s for no reason that the director-general of the Grand Egyptian Museum described it as “the museum of the 21st century.”
It’s here that authorities will place the most valuable treasures the ancient civilization bequeathed to posterity. Many of these precious treasures are objects of wonder and profound awe. According to some accounts, the Grand Egyptian Museum will house up to 100,000 unique artifacts.
Among the highlights of the museum’s impressive infrastructure is its restoration center made up of up to 19 laboratories. Without these restoration labs, the world would have lost many of Ancient Egypt’s treasures.
But thanks to these specialized labs, the world will soon see Tutankhamun’s gold sandals, his bed, (a magnificent reconstruction by wood specialists), his jewelry, and quite a number of obelisks among many other exciting treasures.
Treasures recovered from King Tut’s tomb alone are estimated to be about 5,000. These include writing material, several musical instruments, food, and about 30 bottles of wine. Also, the GEM will try to correct some of the previous items that had been wrongly displayed; back as front—or front as back.
But it will not just be restricted to Egyptian exhibits. The GEM will house thousands of antiquities dating back from prehistoric times to the Greek and Roman periods.
Yet, the glory of the Grand Egyptian Museum is not only in the awe-inspiring treasures that will lie inside but also the structure itself.
Here’s What Makes The Grand Egyptian Museum An Architectural Masterpiece
Looking at the GEM, the building itself, it’s clear it was not just constructed to house dated artifacts. It was also designed to be an attraction in itself. The first feature that will strike visitors is the museum’s size. At a distance, it looks like a ship, the Titanic perhaps, that has run aground in some arid land.
484,000 square feet of floor space effortlessly gives it the title of “The World’s Largest Archeological Museum.”
Its floor area is bigger than Willis Tower, bigger than Exchange 106, and significantly bigger than the Petronas Twin Towers, one of the top attractions in Kuala Lumpur. Many will agree that this is a building fit for a pharaoh.
On the GEM’s exterior, the pyramid theme is evident. It can’t be an afterthought. The Pyramids of Giza, the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact, are only about two miles away.
A pedestrian walkway, longer than the Champs-Élysées, will connect the GEM to the famous pyramids. The museum will also feature 12 massive exhibition halls.
Inside the museum’s atrium, the layered metal mesh roof helps to create a continuous play of light that is so beautiful and impressive. At the main entrance, a 3,200-year-old statue of Ramses II greets visitors. It’s a 36-foot-tall colossus.
- How Far Is The Grand Egyptian Museum From Downtown Cairo? The Grand Egyptian Museum is about 19 kilometers from downtown Cairo.