Construction of the Hurghada National Museum is set to begin after a four-year hiatus despite opposition from employees at the local library which will be demolished to make way for the project.
Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim made the announcement during a tour of archaeological sites in the area.
According to a plan drawn up in 2009, the museum was to be built on a 22500 sq metres site overlooking the Hurghada National Library and shaped like a shell with two sections: one devoted to the museum, restoration labs and storage sections, while the second was to be a visitors' centre displaying photos and documentary films on Hurghada’s archaeological sites and its history since prehistoric times.
An area of 350 sq metres was allocated to become a parking plot.
However, due to budget problems Ibrahim and Red Sea Governor Mohamed Kamel announced the decision to transform the Hurghada National library into an archaeological museum in an attempt to promote tourism.
Adel Abdel-Satar, head of museums at the antiquities ministry, told Ahram Online that the museum would display around 5000 artefacts from local archaeological sites, including the Marsa Gawasis area which was the harbour used by ancient Egyptians when travelling to Puntland in modern day Somalia.
However, library employees have rejected the authorities' decision.
A library employee, who refused to give his real name, said the decision was wrong because LE3 million had been spent building the library just a few years ago.
"How can we encourage people to read if they demolish the library?" he said. "It will shut the doors of the only library in Hurghada."
Employees protested in front of the library building on Sunday.