The Grand Egyptian Museum, which will be built outside of Cairo on the Giza Plateau and next to the Pyramids, will not only be the new crown jewel of Egypt when it is finished, but it will also be one of the world’s largest, most cutting-edge, and most well-known museums.
Here are a few fascinating facts about Egypt’s new Grand Egyptian Museum for those who are interested in learning more about the project’s history and the museum itself.
- The Grand Egyptian Museum’s ceremonial cornerstone was laid in the beginning of 2002, but no architectural or construction firms had been chosen yet to construct the new museum complex.
- After a lengthy international competition, the main contract for the design of the Grand Egyptian Museum was given to the Irish architectural firm Heneghan Peng in 2003. However, the Egyptian government says that a team of 300 people from 13 companies in six different countries helped with the design phase of the project.
- The Grand Egyptian Museum was built over three distinct phases:
- The execution of tasks necessary to clear and secure the site and prepare it for the construction of buildings was the focus of Phase I’s “enabling works.”
- In addition to the main museum building, a fire station, an energy center that supplied the site with electricity and air conditioning, and a world-class conservation center were built during Phase II.The construction of the main museum building, excavation and contouring of the land, and site landscaping were all part of Phase III.
- The Grand Egyptian Museum’s initial cost was estimated to be around $500 million; however, delays, modifications, and other factors have increased the final cost to over $1 billion.
- An enormous 3,200-year-old statue of Ramses II that had previously stood in the middle of a traffic circle in Cairo known as Ramses Square was one of the first items to be transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum. The government decided in 2006 to transport the 83-ton statue to the conservation center in order to stop its deterioration in the midst of the pollution that had surrounded it during its five-decade residence in the square, despite the fact that the new museum was far from finished at the time. In 2018, the statue was moved to the GEM’s main entrance, where it will rest forever.
- The Grand Egyptian Museum will house approximately 100,000 ancient artifacts, 4,549 of which will be from the famous King Tutankhamun’s tomb, when everything is finally transferred from the Egyptian Museum’s publicly displayed collections as well as its much larger private storage areas.
- It is anticipated that the Grand Egyptian Museum will receive approximately 15,000 visitors each day, which is roughly three times the number of visitors to the current museum each day. Over 5 million visitors annually will result from this.
- The Egyptian Museum and the Pyramids have been roughly 45 minutes apart for more than a century. The former is in Tahrir Square in the heart of downtown Cairo, while the latter is on the Giza Plateau to the west of the city at the edge of the Sahara Desert. However, the new Grand Egyptian Museum will be just two kilometers away from the Pyramids, making it much simpler for visitors to travel between the two and reducing traffic in Cairo and Giza.