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Thursday, 23 November 2017

Rommel's Cave Museum in Egypt to be re-opened Friday after years of restoration

The cave in Matrouh was used by Axis general Erwin Rommel during World War II as a makeshift base

Nevine El-Aref , Friday 25 Aug 2017
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Rommel’s Cave Museum in Egypt's Matrouh will be re-inaugurated on Friday after being closed for seven years for restoration and development.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Governor of Matrouh Major General Alaa Abu Zeid will reopen the site, which was used by Axis general Erwin Rommel during World War II as a makeshift base.

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Final touches before the opening

The restoration and development of the cave was carried out by the antiquities ministry in collaboration with Matrouh governorate.

“I really appreciates the collaboration as the governorate has provided the required budget to restore the museum, as well as offering the ministry a part of Misr Public Library to establish another museum for antiquities that would relate the history of Matrouh through displaying all the artefacts found within its sands,” El-Enany told Ahram Online.

He added that the library museum is scheduled to be inaugurated before the end of 2017.

El-Enany pointed out that the opening of Rommel’s Cave Museum highlights the aim of the ministry to promote tourism to Egypt through opening new attractions as well as increasing archaeological awareness among Egyptians in general.

There are also plans to implement evening opening hours at the site.

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Elham Salah, head of the ministry’s Museums Department, told Ahram Online that Rommel’s Cave Museum contains a collection of weapons, shells and military equipment used during World War II, as well as military attire, maps showing battle plans, copies of a newspaper produced by Rommel’s troops in Africa during the war, and files on German soldiers.

She explains that the museum was closed for restoration and development in 2010, and early this year the ministry resumed restoration work at the cave. The conservation of its artefacts was carried out by a team of skilful restorers led by Sameh El-Masry.

Salah pointed out that the development work included changing the museum displays and installing new lighting and security systems.

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“Rommel’s Cave is one of the area’sA natural caves in the rocky cliff, which has existed since Roman times, and has an entrance and exit on the Mediterranean,” Salah told Ahram Online.

In 1977, she said, the idea of transforming the cave into a museum was launched as a way of paying tribute to Rommel’s career. However, the plan was not put into effect until 1988, when it was opened to the public in order to display a collection of Rommel’s personal possessions, many of them donated by his son Manfred, as well as weapons, shells and military equipment used during World War II.

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