Fire Threatens Egypt National Museum In Cairo: King Tut At Risk?
Egyptian National Museum In Cairo Threatened By Fire: King Tut Treasures Threatened?
Reports out of Egypt indicate that the Egyptian National Museum in Cairo may be threatened by nearby fires.
A fire broke out on Friday near Tahrir Square in central Cairo, where thousands of Egyptians have been protesting since Tuesday, and is currently threatening the world-famous Egyptian Museum.
The fire, which started in the offices of Egypt's ruling party, has spread to a building next to the museum, which contains the world's most famous collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities.
Earlier there were reports the National Museum in Cairo was being looted but these reports were unconfirmed. Now, it appears that a group of young people have actually surrounding the Egyptian National Museum to protect it from any possible looting.
Al Jazeera is reporting that young protesters have formed a human chain around the museum to protect it against looting. It seems for now that this treasure trove of human ingenuity and the natural world's wonders is in no immediate danger.
The Egyptian National Museum is a repository of 120,000 ancient artifacts, including that of King Tut or King Tutankhamen.
The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities contains many important pieces of ancient Egyptian history. It houses the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities, and many treasures of King Tutankhamen. The Egyptian government established the museum, built in 1835 near the Ezbekeyah Garden. The museum soon moved to Boulaq in 1858 because the original building was getting to be too small to hold all of the artifacts. In 1855, shortly after the artifacts were moved, Duke Maximilian of Austria was given all of the artifacts. He hired a French architect to design and construct a new museum for the antiquities. The new building was to be constructed on the bank of the Nile River in Boulaq. In 1878, after the museum was completed for some time, it suffered some irreversible damage; a flood of the Nile River caused the antiquities to be relocated to another museum, in Giza. The artifacts remained there until 1902 when they were moved, for the last time to the current museum in Tahrir Square.
Unlike many of the tombs discovered in Egypt, that of King Tutankhamun was found mostly intact. Inside the tomb there was a large collection of artifacts used throughout the King’s life. These artifacts ranged from a decorated chest, which was most likely used as a closet or suitcase, to ivory and gold bracelets, necklaces, and other decorative jewelry, to alabaster vases and flasks. The tomb was also home to many weapons and instruments used by the King. Although the tomb held over 3,500 artifacts, the tomb was not found completely intact. In fact, there had been at least two robberies of the tomb, perhaps soon after Tutankhamun's burial.
The most well known artifact in King Tutankhamun’s tomb is the famous Gold Mask, which rested over the bandages that wrapped around the King’s face. The mask weighs in at 11 kg (24.5 pounds) of solid gold, and is believed to represent what the King’s face really looked like