- Middle East/North Africa
Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has officially asked the government for permission to annex the headquarters of the formerly ruling National Democratic Party for the adjacent Egyptian Museum.
In a memo to Prime Minister Hesham Qandil, published by MENA, Ibrahim said that the building, torched and ransacked during the January 2011 uprising against the former regime, was one of several properties that originally belonged to the museum. He claimed that Cairo authorities "unfairly" seized the lands in 1954 to construct the headquarters of the consecutive regimes that ruled following the 1952 Revolution.
Ibrahim added that the building was registered as a monument in 1983, which, he said, means it falls under the control of his ministry.
If retrieved, Ibrahim said, the land will be used in the museum's renovation plan that includes installing a new visitors' gate, an ancient nursery and an exhibition documenting the 2011 uprising.
Ibrahim cited research by the ministry's land survey department and notary registers proving that, since 1901, the museum's lands, a total of 38,616 meters, included the NDP's building. He explained that the area was used in the past as a Nile dock for the museum, where antiquities were delivered from Luxor and Aswan for display during official and public celebrations.
Ibrahim warned that the building’s potential for collapse, as confirmed by engineers from the Armed Forces and Cairo Governorate, could endanger the next-door museum.
The Egyptian museum holds more than 100.000 artifacts, most notably King Tutankhamun's famous collection.
Edited translation from MENA