Let's hope they do they do the right thing and return the land to the Egyptian Museum.
I'm sure many of us recall in horror, scenes of the National Democratic Party's headquarters on fire, dangerously close to the Egyptian Museum. This was 28th January 2011, and protesters had torched the building during the uprising that ousted the party's leader, former president Hosni Mubarak.
Since then it has stood as an ugly eyesore to visitors to the museum, and a blackened reminder of the political unrest that has plagued Egypt ever since.
In May this year the Egyptian military's corps of engineers started bringing down the building. On Saturday the demolition was completed, created a prime piece of real-estate between the Egyptian Museum and the Nile.
Last year, reports indicated that the land may be granted back to the Egyptian Museum to establish gardens and an outdoor museum to showcase some of the museum’s collection, which is now overflowing in its internal displays. The Director of the Egyptian Museum, Tarek El-Awadi, said that "It is about time that this land, which originally belonged to the Egyptian museum, was returned."
He said that following the 1952 revolution the land was taken from the Egyptian Antiquities Authority and since that time has been used by the various ruling parties, the last being the NDP, which shared the massive Nile-side premises with the National Council for Women, headed by the president's wife, Suzanne Mubarak, and the Arab Bank.
The land was part of the museum’s safe zoning from its construction in 1901 and was the museum’s Nile port where ships unloaded antiquities from their original locations to the museum for display.
I'm sure the temptation to the cash-strapped government to sell the land for development will be enormous. We can only hope that there are some visionaries inside the government who realise how important that green buffer would be to their priceless storehouse of antiquities.