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Graeco-Roman museum to reopen in Alexandria

The Greek-Roman Museum of Alexandria will reopen thanks to an $8-million cultural cooperation project between Italy and Egypt, officials made known on Tuesday.

Graeco-Roman museum to reopen in Alexandria
Neoclassical entrance to the Gareco-Roman Museum of Alexandria
[Credit: Creative Commons License Templar1307]
Founded in 1892 by Italian archeologist Giuseppe Botti, the museum had Italian directors until 1952, and was shut down in 2005.

It will reopen thanks to an agreement between Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Ali Sayed, Stefano Grego, the dean of Universita' della Tuscia based in the city of Viterbo, and Italian Ambassador Maurizio Massari.

The signing took place in Cairo's citadel, in the presence of Italian experts Edda Bresciani and Antonio Giammarusti, who have been working in Egypt for years. The university will design the museum and work the archeological sites of Saqqara and Medinet Madi. Part of the funding will come from a debt swap program from the Italian development agency, Grego told reporters.

''We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. The museum will create 1,000 jobs and attract tourists, which in turn will contribute to the economic growth of this community'', said Sayed, adding that security is the authorities' number one priority in order to woo tourists back to Egypt.

Today's agreement is a testament to the ''forceful and concrete'' ongoing institutional cooperation between the two countries, and to Italy's role in cultural heritage conservancy, the benefits of which go far beyond Egypt, said Massari. ''There is a very clear link between culture and economic development, tourism and job creation. This is not just about culture as an end in itself, but also about improving socioeconomic conditions. Egyptian citizens will be the first to benefit'', the ambassador explained.

Source: ANSA [April 23, 2013]

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