Hurghada Museum: 1,000 Egyptian artifacts awaiting Red Sea tourists

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The museum houses 1,000 artifacts. (Supplied photo)
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The museum houses 1,000 artifacts. (Supplied photo)
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The museum houses 1,000 artifacts. (Supplied photo)
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The museum houses 1,000 artifacts. (Supplied photo)
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Updated 07 January 2020

Hurghada Museum: 1,000 Egyptian artifacts awaiting Red Sea tourists

  • The museum is expected to contribute to boosting tourism in the Red Sea governorate east of Cairo.
  • Hurghada is a city in the Red Sea governorate, a major tourist center 400 km from the capital.

CAIRO: The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities is putting the finishing touches to the Hurghada Museum, which will open by the end of January, coinciding with the national day of the Red Sea governorate.

The Hurghada Museum is the first to be inaugurated in partnership with the private sector in Egypt. 

It houses 1,000 artifacts including royal pieces that date back to the royal epoch in Egypt at the beginning of the 20th century.

The museum is expected to contribute to boosting tourism in the Red Sea governorate east of Cairo.

Hurghada is a city in the Red Sea governorate, a major tourist center 400 km from the capital.

The museum, which covers 10,000 square meters, displays artifacts, and has an entertainment area, shopping complex and parking lots. It cost 160 million Egyptian pounds ($10 million).

Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Anany said in a statement issued by the ministry that a few changes were being made to the displays so that pieces would “match certain places in the museum.”

El-Anany said that the museum would also include a section to display the cultural heritage and monuments of the Red Sea.

He said the inauguration of the museum “would contribute to a great extent in attracting tourists to visit museums during their stay in Hurghada in addition to enjoying beach activities. Thus, this will increase the state’s income and promote Egyptian antiquities.” 

Museum officials have put on show the statue of Queen Meret Amun, replacing the King Tutmoses III plate. 

They decided to give the statue a more prominent place in front of the museum.

Bashar Abu Taleb, head of the Red Sea Tour Guides Union, said that the artifacts reflect the elements of beauty in Egyptian civilization across the eras.

Abu Taleb said the museum introduces beauty at a deeper level and in more detail, in addition to displaying instruments used in daily life, such as makeup, cooking utensils and clothes. 

The museum will include a special section displaying the cultural heritage and monuments of the Red Sea.

Abu Taleb said that the museum would include all the monuments of the Red Sea governorate, which were selected from museum storehouses in Cairo. 

The selected pieces include artifacts from Al-Hammamat Valley, the Roman city monuments in Safaga, the Roman city in Gouna, and Wady Gasus, south of Sinai, in addition to monuments belonging to various eras, including gold pieces, artifacts belonging to the family of Mohamed Ali, regarded as the founder of modern Egypt, and a Roman theater. The Red Sea governorate announced on its official Facebook page that Red Sea Governor Amr Hanafy was following up on construction work at the museum. 

Hanafy inspected a number of pieces prior to the museum’s inauguration on the national day of the governorate scheduled for Jan. 22.

However, the Ministry of Antiquities has yet to officially announce the inaugural date.

World-renowned antiquities expert, Zahy Hawwas, said that the Hurghada Museum was one of the best projects implemented by the Ministry of Antiquities in partnership with the private sector, which built the museum and covered the cost of its completion in accordance with the terms and conditions stipulated by the ministry.

Hawwas said that the Ministry of Antiquities would solely supervise the museum’s administration and that it would attract more tourists, encourage holidaymakers to visit museums during their stay in coastal areas, and would also promote Egyptian antiquities. 

He said that the museum would highlight the beauty of the displayed pieces. 

“It was designed in accordance with international museum standards,” Hawwas said. 

“The scenario of its displays would manifest beauty and luxury in Egyptian civilization throughout the ages. Some pieces feature the luxurious home environment of the ancient Egyptians such as furniture, makeup, wigs, clothes, ornaments, perfumes, and accessories.”

Hawwas said that the museum’s displays would also feature sports equipment used for Nile fishing and hunting on land, in addition to musical instruments and dance starting from the Pharaonic era to modern times. 

A special daily program will feature cultural activities that will be held at the museum’s entertainment zone. 


US contractor told Lebanese port official of chemicals risk

Updated 17 min 10 sec ago

US contractor told Lebanese port official of chemicals risk

  • Concerns about the ammonium nitrate were known within the Lebanese government before the deadly blast
  • The thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate had been stored in the warehouse for more than six years

WASHINGTON: About four years before the Beirut port explosion that killed dozens of people and injured thousands, a US government contractor expressed concern to a Lebanese port official about unsafe storage there of the volatile chemicals that fueled last week’s devastating blast, American officials said Tuesday.
There is no indication the contractor communicated his concerns to anyone in the US government.
His assessment was noted briefly in a four-page State Department cable first reported by The New York Times.
The cable, labeled sensitive but unclassified, dealt largely with the Lebanese responses to the blast and the origins and disposition of the ammonium nitrate, which ignited to create an enormous explosion. But it also noted that after the Aug. 4 explosion, a person who had advised the Lebanese navy under a US Army contract from 2013 to 2016 told the State Department that he had “conducted a port facility inspection on security measures during which he reported to port officials on the unsafe storage of ammonium nitrate.”
Concerns about the ammonium nitrate were known within the Lebanese government before the deadly blast, officials said.
The contractor, who was not identified by name and is now a State Department employee based in Ukraine, was in Lebanon to provide instruction to members of the Lebanese navy. While there, he made a brief, impromptu inspection of physical security at the facility in 2015 or 2016 at the request of a port official, US officials said. The contractor was not identified.
The contractor, who has a background in port and maritime security, noted weaknesses in security camera coverage and other aspects of port management but was not assessing safety issues, according to the US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of a planned public statement.
While inside the warehouse where ammonium nitrate was stored, the contractor saw problems such as poor ventilation and inadequate physical security, which he noted to the port official accompanying him, the officials said. It is unclear whether the port official reported this concern to his superiors.
The thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate had been stored in the warehouse for more than six years, apparently with the knowledge of top political and security officials. The catastrophic explosion one week ago Tuesday killed at least 171 peoples and plunged Lebanon into a deeper political crisis.
The contractor was working for the US Army’s Security Assistance Training Management Organization, headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He provided instruction to members of the Lebanese armed forces in naval vessel traffic systems and small boat operations. His class was visiting the Beirut port as part of that instruction program when the port official asked him for the inspection, which US officials said lasted about 45 minutes.
The United States has a close security relationship with Lebanon. According to the State Department, the US government has provided Lebanon with more than $1.7 billion in security assistance since 2006. The assistance is designed to support the Lebanese armed forces’ ability to secure the country’s borders, counter internal threats, and defend national territory.
Last September a US Navy ship, the guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage, visited Beirut. It was the first time in 36 years an American warship had made a port visit there, according to the US military at the time.