Police and Royal Automobile Museums in Cairo's Citadel re-open

Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 26 May 2013

Police and Carriage museums at Egypt's historic Salaheddin Citadel are open to visitors after almost a year of restorations

Raya and Sekina

The Police and Royal Automobile Museums in Cairo's Salaheddin Citadel were re-opened yesterday within Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) framework to restore and open new archaeological sites and museums to encourage tourism.

The head of the museum department, Ahmed Sharaf said that both museums were closed for almost a year for restoration. Walls were consolidated; cracks that once spread all over its walls were filled and restored. Floors and tiles were cleaned and deteriorated ones were removed and replaced with new ones of similar materials. New ventilation and lighting system were installed and a new security system was connected to monitoring cameras and TV circuits. New guiding plates were also installed outside on the road leading to the museum as well as the visitors' path inside.

During the opening MSA Minister Ahmed Eissa told reporters that a rehabilitation project for some of the closed archaeological Citadel buildings is now being studied. This project aims to restore all these buildings and reopen them to the public.

The Police National Museum is located northwest of the Gran Mohamed Ali Mosque. It was first open to visitors in 1986 and displayed a large collection of artefacts and objects related to the history of the Egyptian police to contemporary times.

The museum's six halls houses different collections of police weapons from the ancient Egyptian period to present, extending to Egypt's Islamic era. Well-known crimes are also highlighted, such as the infamous Alexandrian sisters Raya and Sekina, who would lure women into their apartment to rob, kill and bury them in the basement of their home.

One hall is devoted to the police and Ismailia citizens' different struggles against the British colonisation. Another hall displays different police logos and costumes from the monarchy until the 1952 Revolution.

A collection of counterfeiting devices is also on display at the museum, along with the oldest extinguisher cars used by Egyptians in the 18th and 19th century.

The Royal Automobile Museum is very small and was once part of the British officers' areas during the colonial period. The museum includes one large hall displaying eight royal carriages that were used in different official events. Uniforms of the workers responsible for these carriages are also on exhibition.

Among the most important royal carriages on display is the one used by Khedive Ismail to welcome French Empress Eugenie during her visit to Egypt for the official opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.

Also, the carriage used during the official opening of the first-ever Egyptian parliament in 1924 is exhibited.

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