The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s World Heritage Committee has added Cairo’s Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to its World Heritage Tentative List, announced the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities earlier this week.
The Ministry had applied for the museum to be added as a world heritage site in February 2020. The ‘Tentative List’ is a list of places a country considers to be of outstanding cultural or natural heritage value for the world and is the start of planning and consideration for such properties to be added to the World Heritage List.
General Supervisor of the Central Administration for Public and International Relations at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Abdel Mohsen Shafi’ stated that the museum is a cultural beacon and acts as a witness to Egyptian civilization.
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is the first national museum in the Middle East and houses among the largest and oldest collection of ancient Egyptian archaeological artifacts.
The museum was inaugurated on November 15, 1902, seven years after the Egyptian government launched a competition to determine who would build this architectural masterpiece.
French architect Marcel Dourgnon won the competition and the cornerstone was laid on 1st April 1897 at Tahrir Square. Built on an area of 13,600 sq. meters, with more than 100 exhibition halls, the Egyptian Museum is as architecturally impressive as it is important in its use.
According to the UNESCO website, it states that, “the Egyptian Museum became the first purpose-built museum edifice in the region, setting a precedent for many other museological institutions that were to emerge during the 20th century.”
In addition to the Egyptian Museum, a number of other Egyptian sites are registered on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, including sites in Minya, the Ras Muhammad Reserve in South Sinai, the Nilometer in Rawda, the the ancient Sinai castles and monasteries of the Western Desert.
Egypt already has eight sites that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Memphis region and its cemeteries, Thebes and its cemeteries, Nubia, Historic Cairo, Saint Catherine, the Abu Mina Monastery, and the Wadi El Hitan Reserve in Fayoum.