When Egypt’s ancient monuments crumble: An overview
This post has been updated to include the names of the sculpture, the Egypt-based company and the date.
By Jessica KourkounisAssociated PressPublished July 17, 2020 11:20:25Hours after the world’s attention focused on the collapse of an ancient Egyptian monument, Egypt’s top antiquities official announced that its antiquities directorate would soon be removing the structure from its pedestal in the capital of the country, a decision that could have profound implications for the future of its heritage.
In a televised speech Wednesday, Egypt Antiquities Director General Khaled ElBaradei said that the monument had been removed “in order to create a new platform for the preservation of its contents” after the country’s ruling council agreed in June to dismantle its statue of a pharaoh and the monuments head.
The monument is a large granite-and-steel pyramid complex, with a square-roofed facade that is often described as the largest known monument in the world, dating from the third century BC to 3,300 BC.
ElBaradeis speech comes as Egypt’s leaders prepare to begin the process of removing hundreds of thousands of objects from museums around the country and a similar process is underway in other countries.
The monuments demolition, the latest in a series of events that have put Egypt on the path to a new civil war, was expected to start on Friday.
The announcement comes just days after a series, including the removal of an Egyptian head and the removal in December of a pyramid on the Giza plateau, sparked a flurry of activity in the nation’s capital, where more than 100 people protested and others set up barricades.
The removal of the pyramid, which sits in a busy section of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, is seen as part of a broader overhaul of the nation.
El Baradei called the latest removal of a monument “an irreversible and irreversible act that destroys the very heart of our civilization.”
The head of the monument, a bronze-clad figure that is believed to have been the ruler of Egypt, is said to have led a rebellion against the pharaohs rule.
Egypt’s ruling Islamic party has been in power for almost 40 years.
The statue, known as the “Hieroglyphic Column” after its pedestals base, has been a fixture of Cairo since ancient times, when it was built in the seventh century BC by the Pharaonic dynasty.
It stands outside a museum dedicated to the city’s past and an exhibition that explores the city.
It was not immediately clear when the sculpture would be removed, and its fate was not clear, said the ministry of antiquities and antiquities.
The decision comes as the country faces a political crisis, with the opposition threatening to topple the country from within if it does not hand over power by mid-July, the deadline set by a military-backed interim government.
A total of 1,942 pieces of antiquity were taken from museums across the country this year, the ministry said.
The total number of objects has increased by more than 30 percent from the previous year, according to the ministry.
Earlier this month, the Egyptian government approved a new law to legalize the dismantling of monuments, which would bring the total number to more than 11,500.