Thursday, February 3, 2011

Defending The Egyptian Museum

Egyptian Museum ~ Cairo*
*link currently unavailable

Last night the city of Cairo was a battlefield. All week thousands of Egyptians have been streaming into Tahir Square in the heart of Cairo to protest the oppressive regime of Egypt's president Honsi Mubarak. Their demand is for him to step down. Last night armed gangs of Molotov cocktail hurling pro-Mubarak plain clothes forces moved into the square in a bloody yet  ultimately unsuccessful attempt to break up the protest. Right in the middle of all this, the Egyptian Museum* houses the treasured legacy of Egypt's long cultural history.
 Human chain protecting the Egyptian Museum, Cairo
photo: Khaled Desouki/Agence/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images, NYT

Throughout the current turmoil Egyptians have risen to the challenge of protecting their cultural legacy. Initially, after a brief but destructive looting spree in the museum the army (so far acting in a peace keeping role) apprehended the vandals and placed tanks strategically near the museum until local Egyptians came and linking arms surrounded the building to protect it. Luckily curator's say, the damages can be repaired.

Probably the most famous artifact in the museum is the gold sarcophagus of Egypt's King Tutankhamun (King Tut) 1341-1324 BC. King Tutankhamun was Egypt's 18th dynasty, New Kingdom Pharaoh whose treasure filled tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922.

 King Tutankhamun (King Tut) sarcophagus 1323 BC - Egyptian Museum, Cairo, photo: John Spicer

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