Museums Disasters Egypt

Car bomb explodes outside Cairo museums

Scale of damage to artefacts and manuscripts is still unclear but Egypt’s antiquities minister describes it as “a huge loss”

The Museum of Islamic Art’s hanging ceilings collapsed in the explosion and its decorative façade sustained serious damage

Ancient artefacts and manuscripts were destroyed today when a car bomb exploded in Cairo near the Museum of Islamic Art and the Egyptian National Library and Archives. Egypt's antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim described the event as “a huge loss” for the people of Egypt and the world, reports Ahram Online.

The scale of damage to the Museum of Islamic Art’s collection is unclear as efforts to catalogue the damage are being hampered by concerns over the structure’s stability; hanging ceilings within the 19th-century structure collapsed in the explosion and its decorative façade sustained serious damage. “Until now I cannot move freely inside the museum to continue my inspection tour due to safety reasons, as the ceilings are still on the verge of collapsing,” Ibrahim told Ahram Online. He told a local news station that a large number of glass works were destroyed in the blast.

The galleries of the two-storey museum, which boasts an impressive array of Islamic artefacts from all periods including a collection of rare woodwork, are on the ground floor with the basement and second storey reserved for storage.

Egypt's Heritage Task Force has posted images of the damage on its Facebook page. The photographs show considerable damage to the national library, caused in part by burst water pipes. According the group, eight manuscripts have been destroyed and several others are damaged. The staff is working to transfer the collection to a secure location.

The target of the attack was the main Egyptian police headquarters which received the brunt of the blast. The explosion, which killed at least four people and injured more than 70, comes on the eve of the third anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution.


The Egypt Heritage Task Force has posted images of the damage on its Facebook page
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Comments

27 Jan 14
21:56 CET

JAKE, BENSON

The images that you feature in this story are not from the Museum of Islamic Art, but the manuscript exhibition gallery of the Dar al-Kutub, the National Library of Egypt, which is located upstairs on the second floor of the same building. There has been considerable confusion in the reporting of this story. Jake Benson Curator, Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation & Dar al-Kutub Manuscript Project (TIF-DAK) Cairo, Egypt

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