Archaeologist calls for first underwater museum in Egypt

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Bassem Ibrahim, head of the museum zones department affiliated to the central department of submerged antiquities, has called for the establishment of the first underwater museum in Alexandria.

Archaeologist calls for first underwater museum in Egypt
A diver comes eye-to-eye with a sphinx made out of black granite in the harbour
 of Alexandria. The face of the sphinx is believed to represent Cleopatra’s father, 
Ptolemy XII [Credit: ©Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation,
 photo: Jerome Delafosse]

In a cultural event held by Alexandrina Bibliotheca on Monday, Ibrahim said the project will be a culturally entertaining one that will completely change tourism in Egypt.

“After the Mediterranean Sea submerged ancient Alexandria as result of an earthquake, excavation works have helped to recover thousands of relics that date back to different historic eras like the pharaonic, Ptolemaic, Romanian and Islamic.”

“Doubles of these relics are still underwater, which led us to think about the first underwater museum in Egypt. According to our designs, it will be a glass one,” he added.

Among the obstacles that face the project, Ibrahim included “the wide areas of submerged antiquities underwater, the necessity of having a large number of archaeological divers to carry out periodic maintenance. Also, ships and sailing boats will be banned from navigating above the museum area.”

Mona Mokhtar, a tour guide who holds a master’s degree on maritime museums said, “My master’s thesis came down to the fact that 65 percent of tourists in the world look for entertainment, while 10 percent search for culture and 25 percent for other reasons, including treatment.”

“Constructing the first underwater museum in Egypt will be a mix between entertainment and cultural tourism, as it will offer diving and historic information on the story of Egypt’s submerged antiquities and the eras they belong to,” Ibrahim said.

Source: Egypt Independent [May 26, 2015]

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