CAIRO - 20 August 2019: Akhenaton Museum- that is currently being renovated- is the third largest museum in Egypt and the largest in Upper Egypt. Modern showcases have been installed and interior work of the museum is almost completed.
Egypt Today brings the readers everything they want to know about the museum, which has been under construction for 15 years, stopped for several years and has recently resumed again …
How did the idea of constructing the museum emerge?
The idea of establishing the museum came through a fraternity agreement between Minya governorate and Hildesheim in 1979, to be one of the most important cultural aspects exposing the religious thought of King Akhenaton and the reunification period, to tell the story of the city “Okht Aton” (sister of Aton) in Tel el-Amarna being part of the province of Minya and the capital of Egypt at the time. The museum is considered an important cultural beacon in Upper Egypt as it showcases one of Egypt's most important periods, the reign of King Akhenaton, who spent nearly 17 years in Tel el-Amarna with Queen Nefertiti as part of his first call to unite the gods.
Akhenaton Museum takes a triangular form resembling the Great Pyramids of Giza - ET
When did the museum’s construction works begin?
Constructions began in 2002 and were halted after the outbreak of the January 25 revolution as it had a negative impact on the country’s economic and security conditions. The third phase was completed after President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi took office in 2014. The third phase is scheduled to be completed in 2019, to begin the fourth and final stage.
How much money was spent on the museum so far?
More than LE 150 million were spent on the museum. Works were disrupted after the January revolution and the Egyptian government resumed constructions when Ibrahim Mahlab managed to locate LE 40 million in 2015, while the German side promised to pump another €10 million to the museum's final works.
Akhenaton Museum overlooks the Nile - ET
What is the size of the museum?
The museum is built on 25 acres, while the main building resides on a 5,000 square meters, in the form of triangles. The main building is bordered by a group of bazars, and a restoration center, which is the largest in Upper Egypt. The museum is the third largest museum consists of 16 distinguished halls with various showcases, a library, a conference hall and a theater. It is surrounded by an archaeological restoration Center and 19 Bazars.
Will the museum include only the belongings of King Akhenaton?
The museum has changed its display scenario and content as it will not only include the belongings of King Akhenaton and his royal tomb, but will also include on the first floor a gallery of antiquities from all historical eras, in addition to several distinctive objects that were found in the tomb of the king and are currently located in the Egyptian Museum, Luxor Museum and the Ashmunian stores. The artifacts include important statues and paintings of the king who called for the worship of the sun, as the first unified god, with his wife, Queen Nefertiti.
Does the museum contribute to the dissemination of historical culture and help specialized students?
The museum will include an archaeological restoration center, which will help students of the Faculty of Archeology and Fine Arts study the art of restoration on the hands of specialists, in addition to getting acquainted with studies that aim at reviving the extinct crafts in the province.
Are there any other funds to be spent on the museum from the German side?
In early December, the German Parliament announced the allocation of €10 million from the German government budget for 2019-2020 to complete the Akhenaton Museum and the implementation of the museum's display scenario. However, no money has yet been received from the German side.
What phase of construction is completed so far in the museum?
The construction of the museum's external work is over, but final agreements are yet to be made regarding the display scenario and showcases, as well as the selection of artifacts from among the thousands of artifacts in the warehouses.