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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Grand Egyptian Museum - a Progress Report

On a trip out to the northwestern suburbs we passed by the construction site of the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM).  You may not have been following this project for as long as we have.

You really can't get a grasp of the size of the building from that picture, so let's look a bit closer and see if we can spot some construction workers.

The site is not much over a mile from the pyramids and promises a much more convenient and relaxing visit to the ancient artifacts, especially if you are coming from the port of Alexandria as many cruise patrons do.

Don't book your tickets just yet.  The completion date is still far in the future and may be a "state secret."  There continue to be written reports of a "soft opening" of the Tut exhibits in the middle of this year.  Significant artifacts, including many never displayed in the old museum, have been moving into their new home since last May. (Nice pictures of the move at that link.)

From the Wikipedia entry:
The cornerstone for the museum was laid in 2002 by Hosni Mubarak.
The construction contract was signed in 2012.
The two company names on the banners are Besix, the large Belgian contractor and Orascom, the large Egyptian contractor.  Both of these outfits can get the job done given enough money and reasonable plans.  Besix discusses the difficulties of "this highly complex and difficult-to-construct building" on their GEM web page which also features a nice conceptual drawing of the finished product. 

Current costs for the construction total about one billion dollars, financed 75% by loans from the Japanese government.  Expect more change orders! I wonder what the entry fee will have to be in order to help cover the construction costs.

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