Cairo's Museum of Islamic Art to reopen
After years of restoration work on its fine neo-Mameluke buildings and exhibitions of Islamic art, Cairo's Museum of Islamic Art is close to reopening to the public. Nevine El-Aref took a tour.
On Port Said Street in the Bab Al-Khalq area of Cairo stands the lofty, honey- coloured edifice of the Museum of Islamic Art, its neo-Mameluke architecture and luxurious façade featuring the rich patterns and elaborate decoration of the Islamic style.
However, inside the institution the picture that greets visitors will soon be far less familiar. Following years of restoration work, visitors to the museum will soon be able to roam around spacious galleries showcasing the museum's collection of rare wooden, metal, ceramic, glass, rock crystal and textile objects from across the Islamic world.
Following years of negligence, the Museum of Islamic Art has finally been undergoing comprehensive rehabilitation not only of its building and interior design, but also of its exhibition design and displays.
"Restoring the Museum of Islamic Art is an ambitious and challenging task that illustrates Egypt's commitment to preserving one of the country's Islamic institutions, in addition to its Pharaonic and Coptic heritage," Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni said in an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly.
Hosni added that over the last five years, renovation work to the tune of LE85 million had been carried out at the museum, with work continuing until December 2009 when the institution will celebrate its official reopening.