Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, December 18, 2011

A fire yesterday damaged the entire building of the Egyptian Scientific Institute and damaged its entire collection.  There are pictures of flames coming from the windows, but the fire is now out.  It is now known what, if anything, can be salvaged.


Both sides blame the other.  The army blames the protestors for throwing a Molotov Cocktail into the building; the protestors claim that the army was using the building as a base from which to attack them and some have even suggested that the fire may have been started deliberately by the army to descredit the protests.  It all sounds chillingly familiar.

The Egyptian Museum is still safe - and was open for visitors today - but these are anxious times again and I keep checking Twitter with a degree of trepidation.


Anonymous said...

It will be great to close this vulnerable museum and move the entire contents to the new grand egyptian museum at giza when it opens.
i am in favour of the protestors, though rather think that they have lost out to the ultra conservative forces of egyptian society. However their zeal is threatening the museum and as there is no end in sight the museum should now relocate.

Anonymous said...

The KV63 website has a month by month account of the damage to museums and sites: latest entry at time of writing is December 17th. CJB

tim said...

The people are told that a military council is ruling Egypt. This is true but field marshall Tantawi holds the army and no doubt is fighting for his political life to be declared the next ruler of Egypt and not just defacto ruler. Hard times for the people.

Anonymous said...

What exactly was destroyed in this building and was it valuable?

Val said...

Original copies of priceless books have been destroyed. The original copy of Napoleon's Le
Description de l'Egypte was fully lost, which conflicts with news of
yesterday, so the situation remains unclear. This photo would leave little room for optimism, but it might concern a later edition copy:

Anonymous said...

This is disgraceful. After this and the Tut thefts its manifestly clear that the Egyptians are totally incapable of protecting their priceless heritage.

tim said...

The Egyptian people are very much capable of looking after the history created by them.

A revolution to liberate the people of Egypt is not going to come cheap and the ultimate responsibility belongs to field marshal Tantawi not to the people of Egypt!

Anonymous said...

I do hope you are right Tim, and i have to eat my words,but they currently appear to be such bumbling amateurs with regards to their museum security. Look at that Van Goch theft, the CCTV had been reported repeatedly as un-operational for well over a year and someone just waltzes out with it!

Anonymous said...

World, that is Mankind's joint heritage always suffers during revolutions in some form or another. In the UK, the monasteries were destroyed in the Reformation. The same happened here in France during the "Age of Reason". More recently Cambodia's heritage suffered at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, in Afghanistan the Taliban destroyed Buddhist artefacts. In Tibet the Communists have destroyed Buddhist shrines: I expect the list is pretty long. So,sadly, fears for Egypt's heritage are justified with these precedents. CJB

Anonymous said...

The van gogh theft was before the revolution!

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