UNESCO funds museums to showcase antiquities in Cairo and Alexandria
Two grand museums in Cairo and Alexandria have been given the go-ahead by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, (UNESCO).
Shadia Kenawy, Egypt s ambassador to UNESCO, said that investment from the international organization will support a number of projects being implemented in Egypt with the approval of First Lady Suzanne Mubarak.
The Grand Museum of Egypt, one of UNESCO’s most heavily financed projects, based in Cairo is one largest museum complexes undertaken as a single project, and is set to open in 2009. Yasser Mansour, general coordinator for the Grand Museum, said the project is intended to reflect modern concepts of the “archaeological museum. “Its vocation is not only to house and display archaeological artifacts and materials, but to furnish a complex with adequate space to communicate culture to visitors, he explains.
The UNESCO project in Alexandria includes a sunken antiquities museum based in Alexandria’s Bibliotheca, the Library of Alexandria, a separate project costing $170 million, built in 2002. The grand antiquities museum, being built within the confines of the library and located underwater, will display stored antiquities that are not yet being properly exhibited in Egypt.
Kenawy stated in an interview with Akhbar El-Youm that Egypt and UNESCO are also set to start a training center for archaeologists to benefit neighboring countries with the years of experience accumulated in the excavations at important archaeological sites.
After the National Conference for the Evaluation of Education Reform 1996-2003 under the auspices of the First Lady, UNESCO’s presence in Egypt has seen a resurgence, culturally and educationally. UNESCO aims to improve the cultural heritage of both Cairo and Alexandria in order to promote Egypt’s historical standing as a “milestone in human civilization. Investment comes during a spur in funding delivered during UNESCO’s 60th anniversary celebrations that included a week highlighting the museums and memories of the world.
UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.
Cultural Sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List in Egypt:
Abu Mena (1979)Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis (1979)Islamic Cairo (1979)Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur (1979)Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae (1979)Saint Catherine Area (2002)