Egypt is a nation celebrated for its preservation of artifacts and antiquities; however, no one museum has ever highlighted such a comprehensive collection as the Grand Egyptian Museum, or GEM, which broke ground in 2012. After numerous delays due to construction, finance, logistics, and the global pandemic, the long-awaited opening will occur this year.
“People around the world can’t wait for the museum to open,” says Mahmoud Gebril, CEO of Osiris Tours, a company hosting luxury tours of Egypt and countries in the Middle East. Sited approximately 10 miles from downtown Cairo, the GEM will be the world’s largest archaeological museum, and the first in Egypt’s history to exhibit the complete Tutankhamun collection of more than 5,000 artifacts while housing as many as 100,000 antiquities in total.
This exciting cultural debut will surely be a boon to the country’s tourism sector. According to worldarchitecture.org, as many as 4.8 million visitors are expected to tour the museum each year. “It will inspire travelers from all over the world to come to Egypt,” Gebril adds. “This will have a positive impact on the national economy.”
Set at the edge of the first plateau between the pyramids of Giza and Cairo, the triangular structure peers out over the iconic Egyptian necropolis. The brainchild of Heneghan Peng, an architecture firm based in Dublin and Berlin, the modernistic build and its illuminated 2,000-foot-high facade echo the pyramids’ silhouettes.
After competing for the coveted commission with more than 1,550 other designs hailing from 83 countries, Heneghan Peng was awarded the project in 2003. The international architectural contest was one of the largest in history, and victory was no easy feat.