Egypt's minister of tourism and antiquities inspected Sunday the final touches of the Royal Carriages Museum restoration project ahead of an anticipated reopening soon to the public.
After years of closure the museum will reopen its doors to visitors to admire the exquisite royal carriages of members of the Mohamed Ali family.
Restoration and development work at the museum is in full swing and will be completed soon. The reopening will come within the upcoming 60 days.
As Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Enany embarked on his inspection tour, some 98 percent of restoration work has been completed and the museum edifice is now ready to reopen.
El-Enany's tour included visiting the building, various galleries, and inspecting the restoration lab.
El-Anany pointed out that the project for the restoration of this museum cost about EGP 63 million, showing the Egyptian government's support for Egyptian antiquities.
Hisham Samir, assistant to the minister for architectural affairs, explained that the museum building, which was in a very poor condition, was rehabilitated, the walls and foundations consolidated, and facades and decorative elements restored. New lighting and security systems were installed.
The restoration work started in 2001 but was halted. The work resumed in 2017.
Nevine Nizar, assistant to the minister of antiquities for museum affairs, said the museum put on show a collection of royal carriages along with accessories and clothes of the horse guards.
The items are distributed across five halls. The first hall exhibits the chariot that French Empress Eugenie gifted to Khedive Ismail on the occasion of the official opening of the Suez Canal, while the second hall displays rare types of chariots known as Alay and Half-Alay.
Nizar said the third hall is the core of the museum and displays ceremonial chariots that were used by royal family members in wedding and funerary occasions, and for promenades. Painted portraits depicting members of the royal family are also exhibited.
The fourth hall is dedicated to the uniforms of chevaliers and horse riders, while the fifth and last hall shows accessories used to decorate the chariots and horses, such as horseshoes, bridles and saddles.
The museum was established during the reign of Khedive Ismail. At first it was called the Department of the Khedive Carriages. The name was later modified to the Management of the Royal Stables.
After the 1952 revolution, the building was named the Royal Carriages Museum.
The museum was originally created not only to display royal carriages, but also the horses of Khedive Ismail and those owned by members of the royal family.
Experts and veterinarians were brought from across the world to take care of the horses. Valuable cars from 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.