3rd construction phase of Grand Museum to begin Tuesday

Nevine El-Aref , Monday 2 Jan 2012

Planned 3rd phase to include construction of GEM's main building, built to house some 150,000 artefacts

Egyptian Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim is expected to announce the launch of the third construction phase of the planned Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) on Tuesday. The third phase will include construction of the GEM's main building, in which the museum’s roughly 150,000 artefacts will be exhibited.

Construction of the GEM began in early 2005 on 117 feddans of land overlooking Egypt’s famous Giza Plateau. The museum was designed by a Japanese designer who won a 2002 construction bid.

The building is designed to look like a chamfered triangle in plan, with the building's north and south walls lining up directly with the Great Pyramids of Khufu and Menkaure. A large plaza, teeming with date palms, will be located in the front of the building.

One of the museum’s main features is the translucent stone wall, hewn from alabaster, which makes up the building’s facade. Inside the main entrance is a large atrium, where large statues will be exhibited, including a famous statue of Ramses II transferred from downtown Cairo in 2005.

In 2007, Egypt secured a $300 million soft loan for the project from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. The Egyptian government will pay back $147 million of this while the remaining $150 million will be funded through donations from international organisations.

The museum’s labs and warehouses have already been built and furnished with state-of-the-art equipment.

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