The United Nations World Heritage Committee for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) has added the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square in Cairo to its previous World Heritage List.
The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Egypt submitted an application in February last year in accordance with the established criteria for registration of such sites.
Abdel Mohsen Shafi’i, head of the ministry’s Central Department of International Relations and Public Relations, said the process sought to highlight the museum’s special status.
He noted that the museum serves as a cultural beacon in the heart of Cairo and a witness to Egyptian civilization.
He said that the Egyptian Museum is the first national museum in the Middle East and includes the largest and most important archaeological treasures of ancient Egyptian civilization.
It is also a unique landmark that has played an important role in teaching and disseminating archaeological awareness of different eras of Egyptian society.
The museum additionally has a library and archive containing rare documents and books in the field of Egyptology. It occupies an excellent position as a source of living heritage.
For his part, the director general of the Egyptian Museum Sabah Abdel Razek said that the building is unique in that it is an exceptional architectural example. It is also one of the first architectural buildings specially built to become a museum, distinguished by its unique design and technical achievements.
The museum was built by French architect Marcel Dornon, whose classical Greco-Roman design beat 87 other competitors. The cornerstone of the museum was laid in 1897, the museum was finally opened on November 15, 1902, during the reign of Hedive Abbas Hilmi.
It is reported that a project to develop the exhibition space at the Egyptian Museum is currently being implemented through a short-term and long-term plan.
The museum joins the long list of Egyptian monuments registered in the UNESCO Indicative List, which includes a number of unique cultural and natural heritage sites throughout the country.
These include the Minya Governorate, the Ras Muhammad Nature Reserve in southern Sinai, the Nilometer on the Cairo island of Rhodes, the monasteries of the Western Desert and the ancient Sinai castles.
Egypt has seven World Heritage sites, including Memphis and its necropolis; Ancient Thebes and its necropolis; Nubian monuments; Historic Cairo; St. Catherine’s District; Abu Mena Monastery; and Wadi El Hitan (Whale Valley) in Fayoum.