1 February 2014

Egypt: Minister - 74 Artifacts Completely Destroyed At Museum of Islamic Art

Photo: Xinhua/STR
Supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi clash with security forces (file photo).

Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim said 1,306 artifacts are intact at the Museum of Islamic Art in central Cairo, which has been destroyed by a powerful car bomb that exploded outside the adjacent Cairo Security Directorate last Friday.

"Out of 1,471 artifacts were inside the museum, there are 1,306 pieces are intact," the minister said.

The Minister noted that 74 artifacts were completely destroyed, 26 ones were broken and 64 will be renovated.

Ibrahim said the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has earmarked one million pounds for the restoration process of the museum.

Built in 1881, the museum is home to the world's richest collection of artifacts from all periods of Islamic history. It houses nearly 100,000 pieces representing different Islamic eras, 4,000 of them on display and the rest in storage.

According to its official website, the museum houses works from the 7th-century pre-Islamic era to the end of the 19th century, including carpets, coins, ceramics, jewelry, manuscripts, marble carvings and wood work.

A water fountain made of colored mosaic is among the most impressive pieces on display and dates back to the 13th-16th century Mamluk era.

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