While ancient Egyptians crafted great monuments to their dead, wonders of granite and limestone including the Pyramids at Giza, modern Egyptians have been building a new home for Tutankhamun and his ancestors just over a mile away. Construction has taken eight years so far, the opening delayed multiple times, but the Grand Egyptian Museum isn’t called “Grand” for nothing. At almost half a million square meters, it’s the size of a major airport terminal, with a price tag to match. Most of the huge cost has been met with loans from Japan. The creation of the new museum has taken almost as long as Tutankhamun’s lifespan. A winning design was chosen in 2003, with a facade or wall of semi-translucent stone, one kilometer long, that can be backlit at night. The original architects were a small Dublin-based practise, Heneghan Peng, led by an American-Chinese architect, Shih-Fu Peng. The museum is manifestly a matter of huge prestige for Egypt. In tandem with the building, an extraordinary program is underway to conserve every single one of Tutankhamun’s treasures. The intention is to exhibit all of them together — for the very first time.
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