Egyptian and Arab antiquities take pride of place in Vienna museum

This Oct. 2018 photo, released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, shows archaeologists uncovering parts of a booth with a seat that belonged to Ramses II, one of the longest ruling pharaohs in antiquity, in eastern Cairo's Matariya neighborhood, Egypt. (AP)
Updated 27 October 2018
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Egyptian and Arab antiquities take pride of place in Vienna museum

  • Most of the additions in the first half of the 20th century were the result of archaeological excavations in Egypt and Nubia financed by the Austrian Academy of Sciences
  • Three Egyptian monolithic columns more than six meters in height support the ceilings

CAIRO: One of the world’s most important collections of Egyptian antiquities is on show in the Fine Arts Museum (Kunsthistorisches Museum) in Vienna.
The museum holds more than 17,000 objects that date from a period of almost 4,000 years, from the Egyptian Predynastic and Early Dynastic periods (ca. 3500 BC) to the early Christian era.
Geographically their origins range from Egypt, Nubia, the eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamia to the Arabian Peninsula. The Egyptian collection contains about 6,000 pieces, traced back to the Pharos, Ptolemaic and Greek-Roman Periods.
The collection has a history extending back to around 1560. The Egyptian antiquities already in the ruling Habsburg family’s possession were held in the coin collection and cabinet of antiquities.
The museum said: “The holdings of Egyptian artefacts were considerably expanded by various gifts and acquisitions, most importantly by the objects purchased in Egypt in 1821 by the physician Ernst August Burghart, and the Austrian general consul in Alexandria from 1824 to 1849, Anton Ritter von Laurin.”
Other pieces were provided by Crown Prince Rudolf, the son of Emperor Franz Joseph, who acquired numerous Egyptian artefacts during his travels to Egypt in 1881, the museum explained.
Most of the additions in the first half of the 20th century were the result of archaeological excavations in Egypt and Nubia financed by the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Among them are the famous Reserve Head, numerous tomb statues, inscribed architectural components such as false doors and architraves, coffins of stone and wood, jars, jewelry and vessels made from various materials.
“These masterpieces are the treasures of my ancestors,” said Samah Hussien, an Egyptian citizen based in Vienna, who was admiring the treasures in the museum.
“I am so proud to see Egyptian pieces in one of the most famous museums in the world but it is painful to see them here, and not in my country,” he added.
The rooms holding the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection are magnificently decorated with an ancient Egyptian design. Three Egyptian monolithic columns more than six meters in height support the ceilings. The columns, which were excavated in Alexandria, were a gift to Emperor Franz Joseph in 1869, the fine arts museum said.
The monumental museum buildings, built as part of the Emperor Franz Joseph’s expansion of the city in 1858, was intended to appropriately represent the artistic treasures that had been collected by the Habsburgs over the centuries.
The museum was ceremoniously opened in 1891.


Flash floods in southern Iran kill at least 17, injure 74

Updated 39 min 2 sec ago
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Flash floods in southern Iran kill at least 17, injure 74

  • Heavy rains outside the city of Shiraz triggered the sudden flooding
  • State TV earlier said most of the people killed had been trying to take videos of the flooding on their phones

TEHRAN: Flash floods in southern Iran have killed at least 17 people and injured 74, Iranian state TV reported on Monday.
Heavy rains outside the city of Shiraz triggered the sudden flooding, according to the head of Iran’s emergency medical services, Pirhossein Koulivand.
State TV earlier said most of the people killed had been trying to take videos of the flooding on their phones.
The provinces of Fars, Kurdistan, Qom and Isfahan were on alert for imminent flooding, and the water authority in the capital, Tehran, said floods were a possibility there as well.
Enayatollah Rahimi, governor of Fars province, said the flooding is under control and aid work is in progress, but asked people “to stay in their homes,” the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.
The northern provinces of Golestan and Mazandaran have been struggling with flooding for over a week, and five people have been killed, according to the state-run Press TV channel.
Over 56,000 people have been affected in various cities and rural areas in the two provinces as a result of heavy rainfall that hit on March 19 and 20.
Iran’s metrology department had warned about the heavy rains in various areas across Iran.
Last year, at least 30 people were killed by flash floods in the Iranian province of Eastern Azerbaijan.