Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany embarked Tuesday a tour to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) to inspect the procedures being taken prior to the moving of the King Ramses II colossus to its permanent location on display at the museum's grand staircase.
El-Enany examined the colossus to assess its preservation condition as well as packing and safeguarding procedures. El-Enany also inspected the vehicles that will be used for the relocation.
The minister examined a newly paved road with special load-bearing materials over which the 13-meter tall statue will be transported.
The statue is to be transported in a cage suspended like a pendulum, designed to allow it to move freely during the 400m journey.
The Arab Contractors company will use the same iron cage and vehicle used in the statue’s 2006 transportation.
Both were specially created to support the weight of the 83-ton colossus.
“After making its last journey, the statue of Ramses II will be the first major artefact to enter the permanent collection area of the GEM, the biggest museum in the world,” El-Enany told Ahram Online, adding that this is also the fourth time this statue has been moved.
The first was 3,000 years ago, shortly after it was carved in an Aswan quarry, when it was ferried to Mit Rahina 30km from the Giza Plateau.
In 1882, the statue was discovered broken into six pieces.
Attempts to restore and re-erect it in situ failed, and it remained as it was found until former President Gamal Abdel-Nasser decided to erect the statue in front of Cairo’s main railway station as a symbol of the country’s authentic roots.
In February 1954, the statue was moved to Ramses Square in Cairo, where it was restored and reassembled.
However, in subsequent years the square was redeveloped and the statue was largely hidden under a maze of cement structures and flyovers.
In 2002, the GEM was chosen as the permanent home of the magnificent colossus, and the statue made its third journey in 2006 from Ramses Square to the GEM grounds.
Its fourth journey, after which it will be installed in the place of honour inside the GEM, will take place at the end of this month.