Over a quarter of a decade passed by with people anticipating another museum to grab tourists’ attention in Upper Egypt to join the list of Luxor and Aswan’s most famous touristic sports; long waiting years that came to end on Sunday when president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Anany inaugurated the Sohag National Museum after 25 years of restoration.
The museum’s restoration cost EGP 78m. The museum was established in 1993; however, since then it faced several postponements before its grand opening due to problems with its interior designs.
Overlooking the Nile Corniche, the museum is designed as a two-storey ancient Egyptian temple. The museum displays 945 antiquities that have been discovered in the area throughout different times.
Some of the displayed items were brought from the Islamic Art Museum and the Textile Museum in Muezz, which were also originally displayed in Upper Egypt.
Elham Salah, head of the museums sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, explained in a press release that the museum is comprised of a basement and ground floors.
The basement is dedicated to showcase antiquities that explain and feature ancient Egyptian religious beliefs. This includes the ideas of resurrection and immortality of the soul of ancient Egyptians, right through the pilgrimage beliefs of the Coptic and Islamic eras. The museum showcases relics that resemble the religious rituals of Egyptians over different eras.
Salah also stated that the ground floor includes statues and relics of the first and second dynasties of Egypt.
She added that the antiquities tell the stories of government histories, from early times until recent ones, going through the cultural heritage and even the rituals of families in Upper Egypt. This comes along the area’s most famous handicrafts since the early times, “Akhmim” and handmade textiles.
Minister El-Anany told local media outlet Ahram Weekly, “The Sohag National Museum is not just a regional museum that the Ministry of Antiquities is opening in an Upper Egyptian province, but is part of the country’s strategy to give attention and care to the Upper Egyptian governorates and to develop their resources.”
The museum is planned to play an effective role in raising the citizens’ cultural awareness and talents. Salah stated that after its opening, the museum will host regular educational, cultural, and handicrafts workshops. These are to include children’s workshops to raise their awareness of the heritage and touristic places in Upper Egypt with their history and importance.
The handicrafts workshops will teach women the infamous Akhmim sewing, which is Sohag’s most famous handmade product that is distributed worldwide.
The museum was established in 1993, and the work shortly stopped due to the interior design problems. The work recommenced in 2006 until the 25 January revolution, before it stopped again due lack of financial support.
The restoration continued in 2016, with the focus of getting it done in the shortest possible period.