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Constructing a Mega-Museum in Egypt is Costing $1.1 Billion

Constructing a Mega-Museum in Egypt is Costing $1.1 Billion

The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) will soon be open to the public after spending twenty years and one billion dollars on its construction, as reported by CNN.

The GEM, the “largest museum in the world dedicated to one civilization,” will become a leading historical and archeological study center.

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With a 120-acre footprint and 12 exhibition rooms that cover 484,000 square feet of floor space, the GEM will store 100,000 items, with 20% of them being on public display for the first time. The museum is strategically located between Cairo and the Great Pyramid of Giza.

A 3,200-year-old 30-foot Ramses the Great sculpture and the Khufu ship, an undamaged solar barge buried adjacent to the Great Pyramid around 2500 BC, will be in the GEM. Other items include Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus and all of the 5,000 artifacts discovered in his tomb upon its discovery in 1922.

After winning a competition in 2003 with their concept for a future home of Egyptian historical relics, the Irish architectural group Heneghan Peng constructed the structure. From the Arab Spring in 2011 and the COVID pandemic to the 2018 financial crisis, Architectural Digest reports that the GEM’s construction was beset by difficulties.

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Stuck at 99%: Will This Structure Ever Open Its Doors

In March 2022, Building Design + Construction reported that the structure was “99% complete, with the remaining 1% representing the final touches and logistics for the official opening, planned for November 2022”. According to Architectural Digest, “there are murmurs of a late 2023 inauguration” although the specific date has not been confirmed.

Egypt aims to attract 30 million tourists by 2028, which is twice the current amount, and the upcoming opening is part of that effort. The Egyptian tourism minister told Reuters that the Israel-Hamas fighting in Gaza affected less than 10% of visitor bookings.

“Bookings for Egyptian Red Sea resorts through their company had fallen by 80 percent,” a tour operator told The Independent, in a contradictory story. Despite claims by other countries that Egypt is safe, the US Department of State advises against traveling there owing to terrorist attacks and military zones. Starting in July 2023, this notice has been in force.

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