Cultural preservation moved forward in Egypt over the past month. Terrorist attacks have slumped tourism to popular sites, but recent efforts have successfully reviltalized landmarks, including the Cairo museum damaged by a car bomb three years ago.
Egyptian President Al-Sisi hosted UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova last week to celebrate the reopening of the renowned Museum of Islamic Art. And officials on Friday unveiled the restored residence of French archaeologist Alexandre Stoppelaëre which will be used as a center to further heritage preservation initiatives, simply put they'll be "cloning" monuments.
UNESCO said in statement: "The Museum of Islamic Art, considered one of the greatest in the world, was closed for comprehensive rehabilitation after a terrorist attack in 2014 which caused considerable damage. UNESCO provided necessary technical assistance and financial support for the reconstruction and restoration of the Museum."
Some 179 museum objects were severely damaged by the car bomb blast. Reports cite UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency and other countries, including the United Arab Emirates which contributed $8 million, as helping to restore 160 artifacts and rebuilding galleries.
Bokova also met with Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Swiss ambassador to Egypt Markus Leitner, for the reopening of the restored Stoppelaëre house near the Valley of the Kings in monument-rich Luxor.
Stoppelaëre worked as an archaeologist at the Ministry of Antiquities in the 1950s, and his domed home was built by famed Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy.
Local craftsmen under the direction of architect Dr. Tarek Waly took part in the restoration process of the Stoppelaëre home. The project is part of the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative, a collaboration between Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities, Switzerland's University of Basel, and Spain's Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation.
"Switzerland is committed to preserving Egypt's rich historical legacy. Restoring Stoppelaëre's house preserves a valuable 20th century building while offering a venue from which work can be undertaken to preserve Egypt's ancient history for generations to come," said Ambassador Leitner.
Stoppelaëre's home will be a base for "locals to train on 3D technology and photography, which will also be used for heritage preservation purposes," according to MENAFN.