The museum has been built as part of renewed efforts to attract more touristic interest in the area.
Six years after work first began, Matareya’s open-air museum has finally opened its doors. Located in the al-Massala area, the EGP 6 million development was inaugurated by Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities, Khalid al-Anani this last weekend, with all involved hoping that it will revive touristic interest in the area, by telling the story of the Ancient Egyptian city of On and the Masalla Obelisk, which is one of the only surviving elements of Heliopolis which remains in its original place.
The 68 foot, pink-granite obelisk, which is also part of Pharaoh Senusret I’s 12th dynasty Temple of Re—Atum, is one of 135 artefacts housed at the museum, whose opening ceremony was attended by the Governor of Cairo, Atef Abdel Hamid, as well as several foreign ambassadors and cultural advisors that had worked on the project.
The museum was originally slated to open in 2010, but the opening was delayed over ‘safety concerns’, before being installed with 34 surveillance cameras and adequate fire control measures. But now open to the public, entry during the first week is free of charge for tourists and locals alike.