Egypt to restore its historical National Archives building

Nevine El-Aref , Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 5 Jan 2016

The old and new wings of Dar Al-Mahfouzat at Salaheddin Citadel is to be restored soon in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance

The entrance gate of Dar Al-Mahfouzat

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty has finally assigned an archaeological engineering committee to inspect the current condition of the old and new wings of Egypt’s National Archives (Dar Al-Mahfouzat) located in Salaheddin Citadel in Old Cairo.

Gamal Mostafa, director-general of Al-Qalaa (citadel) Antiquities, told Ahram Online that after its inspection tour, the committee is to write a detailed report on the condition of both wings and send it to the minister in order to take concrete procedures to restore the great monument.

Among the required restoration works are the installation of a new electronic security system and an automatic extinguishing system.

On Wednesday, Mostafa said, a meeting is to be held in the projects department at the ministry with the members of the committee in an attempt to put early steps towards restoring the archives. A review of previous restoration works would also be discussed.

Mostafa also said that the Ministry of Finance is to form a committee to decide on the beginning of the restoration work.

Egypt National Archives is among the oldest in the world, founded in Cairo in 1828 when Mohammed Ali Pasha constructed a building in Salaheddin Citadel to preserve official records and named it Daftarkhana (House of Documentation).

The main aim behind its construction was collecting written documentation of the state’s activities and maintaining it in one place. Over time the Daftarkhana became a storehouse of Egypt's national heritage. It accumulated so many governmental documents after they were no longer needed that Mohammed Ali was forced to construct the Archival Storehouse in governmental ministries and agencies in the capital as well as the provincial governorates.

In 1932, an order was issued by King Fouad to construct “the Historical Records Department in Abdeen Palace in downtown Cairo.”

After the 1952 revolution, a new National Historical Archive was established by law no. 356 of 1954, with the purpose of collecting and keeping documents from all periods. In 1969, it was transferred from Abdeen Palace to the Citadel and in 1990 it was moved to its current location on the Nile Corniche.

In 1993, a new independent authority was created that united the Book Organisation and the National Archives and separated them from the Egyptian General Book Organisation.

Dar Al Mahfouzat at the Citadel

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