Grand Egyptian Museum receives artefacts ahead of launch

Ten ancient Egyptian artefacts, including a part of the Sphinx’s beard, were moved to the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo on Wednesday.

The new museum is set to be the world’s largest archaeological museum when it opens in 2018.

“Ten heavy artefacts are being moved from the Egyptian museum in Tahrir to the Grand Egyptian Museum. These artefacts will be displayed near the grand staircase which will lead to all of the main exhibition halls,” said Tarek Tawfiq, General Supervisor, Grand Egyptian Museum.

Egypt’s antiquities ministry has been transporting artefacts from the Egyptian museum in Tahrir square to the vast halls of the new facility, 23 kilometres away.

“The collection includes statues for famous kings, at the forefront of which is King Khafre, who built the second biggest Pyramid at Giza. Also, the head of king Userkaf from the 5th dynasty, a granite standing statue of the King Thutmose III, a part of the beard of the Sphinx which will be displayed within site of the Giza area, as it is near the site of its discovery in Giza,” Tawfiq added.

The move comes as the ministry prepares for its soft opening early next year, where some of the world’s oldest relics will be displayed.

A government official told Reuters this month that Egypt’s tourism revenues jumped by 170 percent in the first seven months of 2017, reaching $3.5 billion.

Also being moved is a standing statue belonging to King Khafre who built the second biggest Pyramid at Giza, as well as the head of King Userkaf, who is believed to be the founder of the 5th dynasty and ruled around 4,300 years ago.