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Cairo's Museum of Islamic Art reopens

January 18, 2017

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reopened the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo on Wednesday, three years after a car bombing partially destroyed the building.

Fragment einer Inschriftentafel, kufische Schrift / fatimidisch, 1092
Image: picture alliance/akg-images

The museum, which boasts about 100,000 relics including a sword said to have belonged to the Prophet Mohamed, holds one of the largest Islamic civilisation collections in the world. 

The museum in central Cairo had been partially destroyed after a massive car bomb went off outside nearby police headquarters in January 2014, in an attack claimed by Egyptian jihadists.

Ägypten Islamisches Museum
Centuries-old artifacts were destroyed in 2014Image: picture alliance/AP Photo/H. Ammar

The blast damaged 179 relics including glass lanterns from the era of the Mamluks, the slave warrior caste that directly ruled Egypt from the 13th to the 16th centuries. Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany said 160 relics have been restored, at the reopening ceremony attended by Sisi and aired on television. 

Three new exhibit rooms have been built, with the museum now showing 4,400 relics, from more than 1,450 before the bombing, he said. Several countries have funded the restoration,  including the United Arab Emirates which contributed about $8 million, and the United Nations cultural organisation UNESCO.

isi/at (afp)