The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) will display all the artifacts of the well-known king Tutankhamun in its partial opening in 2018, Tarek Tawfik, general supervisor of the museum has confirmed.
“About 4,500 new and unique pieces of Tutankhamun in addition to other 100 heavy and huge statues will be showcased for the first time in May 2018 during the opening ceremony of the the GEM,” Tawfik said.
“Tutankhamun tomb treasures alone stand as a museum and need at least a half day to be seen,” he said.
Tutankhamun, who died at 19, became the world’s best known pharaoh of ancient Egypt after his nearly intact tomb was discovered by British Egyptologist Howard Carter in 1922.
His golden mask, treasure chambers behind his rooms as well as secrets and conspiracies behind his death have sparked a renewed public interest in ancient Egypt.
Restoration works on around 2,000 pieces of Tutankhamun have been finalized, Tawfik said, adding that “those new pieces will be the most attractive factor in luring visitors.”
The GEM, also known as the Giza Museum, is a planned museum of artifacts of ancient Egypt located approximately two km from the Giza Pyramids.
The GEM is currently under construction and is scheduled to partially open in 2018. “In its final inauguration in 2020, the museum will be the largest archaeological museum in the world,” Tawfik added.
The museum will house 100,000 pieces from Pharaonic, Greek and Roman eras, with nearly 7,000 square meters designated for Tutankhamun treasures.
The partial opening will cover 10,000 square meters, Tawfik said. The visitors will ascend the Grand Stair of the museum from the foyer of the entrance all the way to the third level, with statues of
Tutankhamun, King Ramsis II and other kings along the way.
The museum is estimated to cost 800 million U.S. dollars, and five million people are expected to visit it annually, Tawfik said.
The museum was set to open in 2015, but due to security chaos in the country in the wake of the country’s two uprisings since 2011, the construction works have been delayed several times, he explained.
“Nearly 85 percent of the concrete construction works have been finished, and we are working now on the museum ceiling, which will be a remarkable architectural artpiece by itself,” he said.
Since the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time leader Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has descended into political, economic and social chaos, causing recession to its tourism industry, one of the main sources of the country’s national income and foreign currency reserves.
Tourism in Egypt was dealt an even heavier blow following the Russian airplane crash in North Sinai in October, after which several countries, including Britain and Russia, suspended their flights to Egypt.
“Ancient Egyptian treasures and history showcased in the museum may become a new must-see for foreign tourists who seek for discovery and adventure,” Tawfik said.