Tutankhamun’s artifacts will be the pride of the Grand Egyptian Museum.
A treasure trove of artefacts belonging to Egypt’s beloved boy-King Tutankhamun are set to find a new home. The legendary pharaoh’s golden-wooden bed, plain jewellery box and three small wooden boats are being sent for restoration to the partially built Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM). After they are finessed once again to full perfection, these pieces will be exhibited in the King’s hall in GEM, an architectural marvel in itself, which will be thrown open to the public in 2015.
The spacious 7,500 square-metre hall will be seven times larger than the area currently available in downtown Cairo’s Egyptian museum, where Tutankhamun’s items are on display. The website of the Egyptian daily Al Ahram is quoting GEM’s director Hussein Abdel Bassir as saying that these priceless objects will be stored with 501 other items belonging to Tutankhamun that have already been placed in the new museum’s galleries.
The imaginatively designed museum owes much of its budding existence to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). JICA has pitched in with a soft loan of $300 million, which the Egyptians will repay over 30 years at an affordable 1.5 per cent rate of interest.
Egyptian businessmen have provided a cash flow off $27 million, while the cultural ministry has forked a hefty $150 million for the prestigious project. The upcoming complex that overlooks the iconic Giza plateau has been designed by Shih-Fu Peng.
Peng belongs to the Dublin firm Heneghan, which had bagged the award following the international architectural competition held in 2003. Peng says that the state-of-the-art museum will be partly ringed by a desert wall that will be embedded with half a million semi-precious stones. A network of aesthetically designed streets, piazzas and bridges will link the many sections of the museum.