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Egypt's cultural artifacts endangered by economic crisis


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The Lebanon-based Daily Star reports that Egypt’s current economic crisis is making it difficult to maintain the country’s wealth of cultural artifacts, not to mention excavate for new ones. Due in part to a steep decline in tourism since the 2011 revolution, attendance at museums and cultural heritage sites, such as the Giza pyramids, has dropped dramatically. As a result, there is less money to maintain precious artifacts and keep museums open. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

[Antiquities minister] Khaled al-Anani says that without a revival in tourism none of his new projects – such as the introduction of year-long museums and heritage site passes or extending opening hours – will have the desired effect.

Neither will reopening Pyramid Complex of Unas – built for Pharaoh Unas, the ninth and final king of the Fifth Dynasty in the mid-24th century B.C. – which has been closed since 1998 for fear of overcrowding and which Anani reopened in May.

Anani said Egypt plans to partially open the Grand Egyptian Museum – an ambitious center for ancient Egyptian artefacts, said to be the world’s largest archaeological museum – in 2017, bringing forward the scheduled opening date by a year.

This is only possible because the $248 million needed came from a Japanese loan years ago.

Financial woes also affect excavation attempts, he said, which have seen a steep decline since 2011.

Image: A box of King Tutankhamun sits in the Wood Laboratory of the conservation centre of the Grand Egyptian Museum, under construction, on the outskirts of Cairo, August 21, 2016. Via the Daily Star.