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Grand Egyptian Museum captured ahead of opening

We take a peek at the much delayed but highly anticipated $1 billion Grand Egyptian Museum


New images of the long-awaited Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Giza have been released, ahead of its planned opening later this year.

When it (finally) opens, GEM will be the largest archaeological museum complex in the world, spanning 5.2 million square feet and housing more than 100,000 artefacts. Highlights will include King Tutankhamun’s entire treasure collection comprising 5,000 items, as well as items dating from pre-historic times through to the Greek and Roman periods of Egyptian history.

The completion of the museum has been delayed many times – plans were first announced by the Egyptian government back in 1992 and Ireland-based architects Heneghan Peng were awarded the contract to design the museum in 2003. Construction began in 2005, but the project was delayed by the Arab Spring crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation has provided two loans totalling 84.2bn Japanese Yen (around $800m) to fund the development of the museum, with the remaining funds coming from the Egyptian government and donations.

In 2010, Hill International was selected by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture to provide project management services during the GEM’s construction.

The museum recently achieved the World Bank’s IFC EDGE Advanced Green Building Certification, making it the first in Africa and the Middle East.

There is still no confirmed opening date, although the museum is expected to open towards the end of 2024. Certain sections of the museum are open to the public for limited guided tours with an advance reservation. The collections and exhibition areas are still closed and off-limits until the official opening.

Press Association journalist Ben Mitchell was invited to see the completed sections of the museum earlier this year.

Writing in an article published in The Independent, Mitchell described his first impressions of the museum interiors. “Once inside, I am greeted in the luxuriously vast lobby by the 3,200-year-old statue of Ramses II,” said Mitchell. “At 11 metres, it’s so tall that it had to be installed when the site was still a pile of sand, and the museum was then built around it.”

The tour began with a 360-degree immersive cinema experience, wrote Mitchell, “which pulls us back in time and into the legend of King Tut, taking us on a virtual journey to the Valley of the Kings and into his tomb, which is recreated in the vibrant yellows, reds and greens of the original hieroglyphics – as fresh as the day they were originally painted for his death in 1323BC.”

The tour saw visitors return to the lobby to ascend the museum’s Grand Staircase, where they were met with “an array of statues, sarcophagi and tablets, which tell the story of the kings and queens of Egypt.

“I reach the final level depicting the ages-old aim of all the kings – eternity, where [I was] faced with the entrance to a gallery dedicated to Tutankhamen, and a large window providing views of Giza’s three main pyramids,” said Mitchell.

At this stage, the visit ended, so we’ll have to wait to find out what the Tutankhamen gallery contains, as well as details of the rest of the museum – hopefully, we won’t have to wait too much longer.

The design for the vast museum is by architects Heneghan Peng Credit: Photo: Grand Egyptian Museum
The 11m-tall statue of Ramses II Credit: Photo: Grand Egyptian Museum
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Attractions Management
2024 issue 2

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Leisure Management - Grand Egyptian Museum captured ahead of opening

News feature

Grand Egyptian Museum captured ahead of opening


We take a peek at the much delayed but highly anticipated $1 billion Grand Egyptian Museum

The design for the vast museum is by architects Heneghan Peng Photo: Grand Egyptian Museum
The design for the vast museum is by architects Heneghan Peng Photo: Grand Egyptian Museum
The 11m-tall statue of Ramses II Photo: Grand Egyptian Museum

New images of the long-awaited Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Giza have been released, ahead of its planned opening later this year.

When it (finally) opens, GEM will be the largest archaeological museum complex in the world, spanning 5.2 million square feet and housing more than 100,000 artefacts. Highlights will include King Tutankhamun’s entire treasure collection comprising 5,000 items, as well as items dating from pre-historic times through to the Greek and Roman periods of Egyptian history.

The completion of the museum has been delayed many times – plans were first announced by the Egyptian government back in 1992 and Ireland-based architects Heneghan Peng were awarded the contract to design the museum in 2003. Construction began in 2005, but the project was delayed by the Arab Spring crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation has provided two loans totalling 84.2bn Japanese Yen (around $800m) to fund the development of the museum, with the remaining funds coming from the Egyptian government and donations.

In 2010, Hill International was selected by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture to provide project management services during the GEM’s construction.

The museum recently achieved the World Bank’s IFC EDGE Advanced Green Building Certification, making it the first in Africa and the Middle East.

There is still no confirmed opening date, although the museum is expected to open towards the end of 2024. Certain sections of the museum are open to the public for limited guided tours with an advance reservation. The collections and exhibition areas are still closed and off-limits until the official opening.

Press Association journalist Ben Mitchell was invited to see the completed sections of the museum earlier this year.

Writing in an article published in The Independent, Mitchell described his first impressions of the museum interiors. “Once inside, I am greeted in the luxuriously vast lobby by the 3,200-year-old statue of Ramses II,” said Mitchell. “At 11 metres, it’s so tall that it had to be installed when the site was still a pile of sand, and the museum was then built around it.”

The tour began with a 360-degree immersive cinema experience, wrote Mitchell, “which pulls us back in time and into the legend of King Tut, taking us on a virtual journey to the Valley of the Kings and into his tomb, which is recreated in the vibrant yellows, reds and greens of the original hieroglyphics – as fresh as the day they were originally painted for his death in 1323BC.”

The tour saw visitors return to the lobby to ascend the museum’s Grand Staircase, where they were met with “an array of statues, sarcophagi and tablets, which tell the story of the kings and queens of Egypt.

“I reach the final level depicting the ages-old aim of all the kings – eternity, where [I was] faced with the entrance to a gallery dedicated to Tutankhamen, and a large window providing views of Giza’s three main pyramids,” said Mitchell.

At this stage, the visit ended, so we’ll have to wait to find out what the Tutankhamen gallery contains, as well as details of the rest of the museum – hopefully, we won’t have to wait too much longer.


Originally published in Attractions Management 2024 issue 2

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