The final phase of construction of the new Atun Museum, overlooking the River Nile in Minya governorate, is finally in full swing after years of delay, according to officials at Egypt's antiquities ministry.
Engineers, archaeologists and builders are putting the finishing touches to the first hall, which will serve as a model for other diplay areas in the museum. In the next two weeks, the hall will be inspected by a project consultant to ensure it is up to standard.
Elham Salah, head of the ministry's museums section, said that work on the hall includes the polishing of the walls and ceiling, and installing the lighting and the air-condition systems.
"If the project consultant approves the interior design and all the work achieved in the sample hall, such as the colour of the polish, the location of the air-conditioning and the type of flooring, it will be applied in all display areas in the museum," Salah said.
Ahmed Hemeda, director of the Atun Museum, said that the current work on the museum is the final of three phases, now being completed several years behind schedule.
Work on the museum began in 2002, with the first two phases completed in 2010. These phases included construction of the main building and additional structures such as an administrative building. However, work halted after the January 2011 uprising due to a decline in tourism revenue and a lack of budget.
In 2015, work on the third phase began, which involves finishing walls, floors and ceilings, installing lighting and air-conditioning systems, and completing landscaping.
Salah inspecting the work at the museum
The Atun Museum covers 25 feddans and stretches 600 metres along the Nile Corniche. Its pyramid-shaped building contains 16 exhibition halls relating the history of Minya governorate through history.
Some halls will be dedicated to the history of the ancient captial city of Al-Amarna, its monotheistic Pharaoh Akhenatun, his beloved wife Queen Nefertiti, and other family members.
There will also be a garden, theatre, conference hall, a cafeteria and 19 shops for arts and crafts.