On Tuesday, Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim carried out a tour of the Museum of Royal Carriages in Boulaq, Cairo, in to check upon the restoration work being completed and the reasons behind its delay.
Restorations at the museum started in 2002 and have yet to completed. During the inspection tour, Ibrahim announced that the ministry will take all legal action necessary to find out who is responsible for the delay and to resume the restoration process.
According to the original plan the museum should have been opened to public in 2011 but the January revolution has put all plans on hold.
A curator in the museum who chose to remain anonymous told Ahram Online that the restoration of the museum has faced financial issues because the private company which was responsible for the work refused to continue because it did not receive payment for the first phase on time.
The MRC is considered one of the important museums in Egypt as it displays royal carriages that were offered to Khedive Mohamed Ali and his family. It was constructed during the reign of Khedive Ismail in the last quarter of the 19th century.
The museum is a two story building with a plain façade decorated with architectural portraits in the shape of horses' heads.
After restoration, the museum is to show 67 historically valuable royal carriages of 22 different types. Among the most noteworthy are those offered by Napoleon Bonaparte and Queen Eugene to the Khedive Ismail in 1869 for the opening of the Suez Canal. Khedive Ismail used this carriage during his wedding ceremony.
The museum exhibits different types of uniforms that were used in royal protocols, leather outfits, ornaments that the horses used to wear, oil colored paintings, and a large collection of geometric drawings that illustrate the structural formations of carriages. This is besides eight models made out of plaster to display outfits and uniforms.
Remarkable vertical geometrical trims and wonderful models of artificial horses that were used to explain the muscular anatomy of the horse are also on dispaly.
Throughout history, the MRC has had several several names. At first it was called Department of the Khedive Carriages and then the name was modified to the Management of the Royal Stables, which was one of the three organizations that used to follow the instructions of the Department of the Khedive Carriages. After the 1952 revolution, the museum was called the MRC.
The museum originally created not only to display the royal carriages but horses of the Khedive and those owned by members of the royal family. Experts and veterinarians were brought from all over the world to take care of the horses. This is besides the skilful workers who maintained and restored the royal carriages. Valuable expensive cars from different world class brands like Citroen, Ford, and Cadillac were also exhibited. In 1969, Cairo governorate took around three quarters of the museum and transformed it into a garage
Ahmed Sharaf, Head of the Museums Section, told Ahram Online that the museum is now equipped with state-of-the art showcases which prevent the entrance of ultra violate rays, robberies and bullets. A high tech security system, ventilation and lighting systems were also installed.