Cairo bombing damages historical monuments

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The bombing that took place early morning on 24 January has affected the neighbouring Islamic Art Museum and the Egyptian National Library and Archives. A group of archaeologists and art restorers volunteered to form a taskforce, which visited yesterday the site of the museum to survey the damage.

Cairo bombing damages historical monuments
A car bomb that detonated in Cairo this morning ripped a crater into the street outside
police headquarters [Credit: Mohamed Hesham, Anadolu Agency/Getty]

Several news sources reported the destruction of the museum’s windows and many of the artefacts inside of it. The Egypt Heritage Taskforce reported that the museum’s ceiling has collapsed. “Several of the objects such as those of glass and ceramics have been seriously damaged,” the report said. “The museum dates back to 1870, and as can be seen from the images, its front face has been seriously affected.”

Cairo bombing damages historical monuments
The force of the blast blew out the Museum of Islamic Art’s windows, shattering display
cases and fragile artifacts [Credit: European Southern Observatory]

The neighbouring archives building were also affected by the blast. Reportedly, a water pipe exploded inside, causing damages to some important manuscripts. “In the Egyptian National Library and Archives, behind the museum, eight manuscripts have been destroyed and several others damaged and are currently being transferred to a safe place,” reported the Egypt Heritage Taskforce.

Cairo bombing damages historical monuments
The façade of the museum was highly damaged and the ceiling also fell down
[Credit: Egypt’s Heritage Task Force/The Egyptian National
Library and Archives]

The Rawi Heritage Facebook page reported that all of the items on the second floor of the museum have been moved to the archives building near Maspero by the staff and curators of Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation team.

Cairo bombing damages historical monuments
Most of the glass casings shattered on the first floor of the museum [Credit: Egypt’s
Heritage Task Force/The Egyptian National Library and Archives]

Egyptian archaeologist Dr Monica Hanna was one of the first ones on the scene. “Approximately 30% of the objects inside the museum have been damaged, but the building is more affected than the objects inside,” she said.

Rawi Heritage announced via Facebook, later in the day on 25 January that restorations are already underway: “The objects on display have been moved and today the debris is being sifted through to clear the building completely. A committee from Cairo University’s engineering department will be visiting tomorrow after the museum has been cleared to assess the building’s stability. The water seeping from the broken tank has been dried.”

The ministry of antiquities announced a press conference on 26 January at the museum to provide information on the damage sustained by the explosion.

Author: Thoraia Abou Bakr | Source: Daily News Egypt [January 26, 2014]

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