PICS: Egypt places colossus of Ramses II in atrium of new museum

AP/Amr Nabil
AP/Amr Nabil
Amr Nabil

Cairo - With much fanfare, Egypt on Thursday placed the ancient statue of one of its most famous pharaohs, Ramses II, in the entrance hall of a new antiquities' museum under construction near the pyramids of Giza, just outside Cairo.

This was the fourth time the statue, which dates back 3 300 years, had been moved. It was first discovered in 1820 near ancient Memphis by Giovanni Battista Caviglia, an Italian explorer and Egyptologist who was also a key figure in the excavation of the Sphinx of Giza.

SEE: Egypt: Our popular tourist sites are safe

Ramses II, also known as Ramses the Great, ruled Egypt for around 60 years, from 1279 B.C. to 1213 B.C. He is credited with expanding ancient Egypt's reach as far as modern Syria to the east and modern Sudan to the south.

The placement of the colossus, weighing over 80 tons and towers at a height of about 12 metres, took place amid a ceremony attended by Egyptian officials and foreign diplomats.

The massive statue - which for over 50 years had graced the Ramsis Square, named after the statue, in downtown Cairo - was moved in an iron cage hung like a pendulum on a steel bridge for about 400 metres from where it stood earlier, at the museum compound.

AP/Amr Nabil

"We are celebrating the arrival of the first artifact to its final venue in the atrium of the Grand Egyptian Museum," Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said, referring to the colossus.

The relocation of the colossus cost 13,6 million Egyptian pounds, al-Anani said, which today is about $770 000, and involved military corps of engineers and a contracting company.

ALSO SEE: #AfriTravel: Crystal Lagoons adds R5.1bn sparkle to Egypt's 'new capital'

Al-Anani said the museum entrance hall will also host some 87 other artifacts, including 43 massive statues. He said that the first phase of the new museum, including the atrium, will be inaugurated later this year. The grand opening of the new museum is expected to take place in 2022.

AP/Amr Nabil

The museum covers about 490 000 square metres and will house some of Egypt's most unique and precious artifacts, including many belonging to the famed boy King Tutankhamun.

Egypt hopes the inauguration of the new museum, along with a string of recent discoveries, will help spur a vital tourism industry that has been reeling from the political turmoil that engulfed Egypt following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

On Thursday, Egypt marked the seventh anniversary of the uprising.

AP/Amr Nabil

What to read next on Traveller24

Visit PE: Nelson Mandela Bay pumps money into holiday resorts to boost tourism

PICS: Queen Mary 2 arrives in Cape Town + SA's top 2018 Cruise routes

LIMITED: Franschhoek Boutique Hotel stay: 1 lucky reader could get their escape for free

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Is social media doing more harm than good?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, our children are exposed and we can't protect them
49% - 4118 votes
Yes, but social media is part of the new reality
46% - 3805 votes
No, it's great for growing a child's world view
5% - 409 votes
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo