Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Looted Islamic Wooden Beams Returned to Egypt

Looted Islamic wooden beams return to Egypt

Nevine El-Aref, Thursday 19 Dec 2013

Egypt restitutes Ghanem Al-Bahlawan Mosque's eight decorative wooden beams from Denmark after a court ruling

Missing for five years, eight decorative wooden beams, which had been severed off the pulpit of Ghanem Al-Bahlawan Mosque in Cairo's historic Al-Darb Al-Ahmar area, have been returned to their homeland.

Geometrical patterns embellish the wooden beams encrusted with ivory.

Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online that the ministry had reported the theft of the beams in 2008 to local police as well as the Interpol.

In 2012, the Egyptian Embassy in Copenhagen reported that the Denmark Customs Police had uncovered a package containing the stolen items.

As Ibrahim pointed out, investigations revealed that the package had been dispatched from the United State to Switzerland via Denmark.

The MSA has now taken all legal procedures to recover the beams, the official continued, after having acquired a court ruling stipulating Egypt's right to restore the artefacts.

Ghanem Al-Bahlawan Mosque, named after the Circassian Mameluk, was constructed in 1478 AD during the reign of Sultan Qait Bey.


Japanese meet Egypt antiquities minister on Grand Egyptian Museum cooperation

Nevine El-Aref, Sunday 22 Dec 2013

Delegation of the Japan International Cooperation Agency meets Egypt's antiquities minister to assess progress made on the construction of the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza

Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim met on Sunday with an official delegation of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) led by Egypt office chief representative Hideki Matsunagaat the ministry's office in Zamalek.

During the meeting, Ibrahim told Ahram Online, they discussed construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking the Giza Plateau and future work in order to complete the museum in 2015, according to schedule.

Ibrahim asserted that he received an official letter from Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal saying that his ministry will give the Ministry of State for Antiquities the LE100 million loan it asked for, paying the MSA share in the construction work.

He also pointed out that the MSA used $90 million of the $300 million loan granted to Egypt from Japan in the third phase of the GEM construction plan.

In March, he added, the amount used in the construction will reach $150 million.

Ibrahim told Ahram Online that Matsunaga was very happy with the progress achieved and said that JICA would continue to support Egypt in protecting and preserving its heritage.

The Grand Egyptian Museum would be home to some of Egypt’s most cherished artifacts.

Top attractions will include King Tutankhamun and some of the most celebrated of ancient Egypt’s kings, queens and nobles, such as Hetepheres, mother of the Pharaoh Khufu, Yuya and Thuya, the grandfathers of Pharaoh Akhenaten, and Senedjem, the principal artist of Pharaoh Ramses II.

The royal mummies and the treasures of Tanis will also be displayed. The last section, Bassir added, would be themed around religion, language, the army, death rituals and the afterlife.

Construction works include the museum building and a conference centre with an auditorium seating 1,000 that will be equipped for theatrical performances, concerts, conferences and business meetings. The main auditorium will be supplemented with seminar rooms, meeting spaces, a multi-purpose hall along with an open plan gallery for accompanying exhibitions.

Bassir said that a special section for children will be created in order to encourage young people to learn about heritage.


German Archaeological Institute honours Egyptian archaeologists

Nevine El-Aref, Saturday 21 Dec 2013

Celebrating Egyptian-German ties in the field of archaeology, Cairo's German Archaeological Institute honours Christiana Köhler, Maged Negm and Hisham El-Leithy

Friday evening, the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo celebrated pioneer German archaeologist Karl Lepsius, one of the founders of the modern scientific discipline of Egyptology. Lepsius led several expeditions to Egypt and the Sudan, studying the Pyramids of Giza, the Valley of the Kings, and other important archaeological sites.

During Friday's gala ceremony, Stephan Seidlmayer, director of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, honoured and welcomed three distinguished scholars — one German and two Egyptians — as members of the institute.

German Christiana Köhler, from the University of Vienna, is one of the most distinguished specialists in the field of Egyptian prehistory and state formation.

Maged Negm, professor of Egyptology and vice president of Helwan University, played an important role in creating the new study programme "Cultural Heritage Management and Museology" in cooperation with the Technical University of Cottbus in Germany.

Third, Hisham El-Leithy, director of publications at the Ministry of State for Antiquities, has cooperated with the German Archaeological Institute for many years.

El-Leithy was also honoured for his efforts to strength German-Egyptian relations in the field of archaeology.


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