zaterdag 25 september 2010

Luxor Heritage Centre

This recently building was recently opened by Susan Mubarak and is situated at the junction between the airport road and sphinx avenue. If fact it actually overlooks the Sphinx Avenue which was an added bonus when visiting.

Over three floors and built with a mixture of donations and government funding it is a very impressive building. I was shown round by a member of the staff Mona, she spoke excellent English, and she and the rest of the staff could not do too much to show off their new building.

The Egyptology Library on the first floor is decorated with photos donated by Mr Gaddis showing Luxor as it used to be but the books inside are up to date modern editions. Although there are some classics as well. They are in a variety of languages and cover all aspects of Egypt’s history pharaonic of course but including its Islamic past as well. There is computer access all over the building where people can research, catch up with current affairs or play as the example of the children.

Also on this floor is a large map room where both historic and current maps are stored. It was quite fun finding my own house. This room also has facilities for video conferencing

The Arabic library on this floor seemed to have a large range of reference books, videos and tapes. I could see the Dummies Guide books in Arabic, Guinness World Records and was told there were also books on law, religion, and physiology.

The top floor had lots of children’s facilities, a well stocked lending library and reading hall. There was a great children’s activity area with wall displays and bright colours. And lots and lots of kids having fun. Computers, a green corner for environmental studies and internet access at 1LE per hour. There was a second adult Arabic library with Agriculture, Business studies, Chemistry and Geography. I also saw a complete range of Naguib Mahfouz books so there must be fiction in there as well. Also a computer teaching room and language hall. Not all these facilities were in operation yet but judging by the children’s area when they are they will be well used and fully equipped.

Downstairs in the basement there was a Star Riders exhibition where some of the compasses, time keeping devices and other wonderful devices from the past were displayed. There is an area with a huge screen where you can explore to Eternal Egypt Website, Animation halls are planned and there will an interactive Culturama.

With disabled access, clean toilets and coffee shop this is a centre to be proud of.

Projects are:

• Panorama of Culture (CULTRAMA): An interactive showcase of the documentation of Pharonic, Coptic, Islamic, natural and modern Egyptian heritage. This panorama is the first of its kind in the world.

• Forsan al-Sama’a Hall: A hall where astrological equipments are displayed to demonstrate the contributions of the Islamic culture and the Arab leadership in astrology.

• 3D Show Hall: The hall comprises three rooms for 3D showcase of selected Pharonic, Coptic and Islamic archeological pieces. Visitors can view these pieces as they are showcased in Egyptian museums by using special eye-glasses.

• Eternal Egypt website: www.eternalegypt.org is a unique interactive website that showcases selected treasures of the Egyptian cultural heritage covering all Pharonic, Greek, Roman, Coptic and Islamic ages.

CULTNAT has participated in designing these halls so that they can occupy the largest number of tourists daily. Regular shows will be presented in Arabic and English languages in the first phase and other languages will be added in the future.

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