Explosion at the Islamic Art Museum in Cairo

On Friday in Cairo three explosive devices have killed a reported five people. One of those explosions was close to the Museum of Islamic Art in central Cairo. The facebook page titled ‘Egypt’s Heritage Task Force’ reports:

Unfortunately, the hanging ceiling at the museum collapsed due to the explosion while several of the objects such as those of glass and ceramics have been seriously damaged. The museum dates back to 1870 and as can be seen from the images, its front face has been seriously affected. In Dar el-kutub behind the museum, 8 manuscripts have been destroyed and several others damaged and are currently being transferred to a safe place.

The Islamic Art Museum in Cairo, picture via Egypt's Heritage Task Force
The Islamic Art Museum in Cairo, picture via Egypt’s Heritage Task Force

There may be more risks to museums in the coming days. January 25th marks the three-year anniversary of the Revolution of 2011 which ousted former Prime Minister Hosni Mubarak. It also led to increased looting of remote archaeological sites, and coincided with thefts at the Cairo Museum of Antiquity, along with other incidents of damage, looting and destruction. But there were also examples of Egyptians standing up and shielding their own heritage from destruction.

The Museum of Islamic Art was re-opened in 2010 after an eight-year renovation project.

The Museum may have not been a primary target for the attackers. It sits across the Bab El Khalk square from what the BBC reports is the main security headquarters in Cairo. Yet images inside the museum show a collapsed seeling, substantial damage to the building, and a great deal of broken glass and damaged displays.

Damage inside the Islamic Art Museum in Cairo
Damage inside the Islamic Art Museum in Cairo

Cairo’s Islamic Art Museum bombed, BBC, Jan. 24, 2014, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25877201.

Car bomb explodes outside Cairo museums, The Art Newspaper, http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Car-bomb-explodes-outside-Cairo-museums/31602

Laura King, Bombing at Egyptian police building damages nearby Islamic museum, L.A. Times, Jan. 24, 2014, http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-egypt-museum-bomb-damage-20140124,0,3057184.story#axzz2rL8KU0Py

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