Egypt finally opens national museum in north Sinai

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AL-ARISH, Egypt -- North Sinai's National Day celebration had a different flavour this year. Apart from the inauguration of new urban development projects that usually mark the event, the city's long-awaited [$8.9m] National Museum is at last finished.

[Plans for] the two-storey Al-Arish National Museum (ANM)...were drawn up in 1994 -- shortly after the return of Sinai's archaeological collection taken by Israel during their occupation...

The 2,500-square-metre museum tells the history of Sinai from the pre-dynastic to the Islamic eras, displaying 1,500 objects carefully selected from eight museums in Egypt: the Egyptian, Coptic and Islamic museums in Cairo, the Recovered Antiquities Museum at the Citadel, the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, the Sinai Historical Museum in Taba, the Port Said Museum, and the Beni Sweif museological storehouses in Ashmounein. Artefacts unearthed at excavation sites in Sinai such as the Horus military road in Qantara East and Tel Basta in the Nile Delta are also on display.

The museum stands opposite the Al-Arish Ethnographic Centre at the town's eastern end, on the very spot where the Egyptian flag was raised after the Israeli withdrawal from this part of Sinai in 1979. It is set in an expansive 16,000-sq-m garden of trees and plants.

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