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Egyptian Scientific Institute in danger from botched restoration, says minister

Antiquities minister calls on SCAF to halt poorly conducted restoration work at Scientific Institute damaged by fire during December's Cabinet clashes

Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 3 Mar 2012
the institute after burning
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Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has called on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to halt restoration work at the Egyptian Scientific Institute in Cairo because it is not being conducted in an appropriate manner.

“Restoration and consolidation work carried out at the institute does not pay attention to the monumental dimensions of the building and its historical value,” Ibrahim told Ahram Online. "Concrete bars being used to consolidate the edifice are totally against antiquities protection laws."

Ibrahim has asked the armed forces engineering department to submit a report to the antiquities ministry on the restoration works and the technical archaeological institute to study the work and have it approved by the Permanent Archaeological Committee for Islamic and Coptic Monuments.

The institute was burnt down last December during protests against the military regime in front of the Cabinet building in downtown Cairo.

The fire raged for two hours, bringing down magnificent ceilings in the two-storey building, destroying ornate woodwork and a large number of precious books, documents and manuscripts.

All the building’s internal walls were destroyed but its supporting walls were still well preserved.

Those responsible remain unidentified, with both the military junta and protesters blaming the other for starting the fire.

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