World’s first underwater museum in Egypt

Many of the ancient city of Alexandria’s relics, including the alleged remains of Cleopatra VII’s palace  are submerged under 20 feet of water, and have sat placidly beneath the surface of Abu Qir Bay for more than 1,000 years.

The ruins, both mysterious and integral to Egypt’s rich history, have been publicly known as hidden artifacts, but might become part of a fantastical tourist attraction in the coming years.

Antiquities buried a mere 20 feet under the surface in Abukir Bay include the Lighthouse of Pharos and “statues with the faces of Ptolemy and Cleopatra [and] falcon-headed crocodile sphinxes,” and other 2,500 artifacts will be visible into the plain view for the first time.

Officials from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities have been working with Jacques Rougerie, an architect renowned for outlandish seafaring designs, and hope to complete the task relatively soon, although no official deadlines have been set so far.

A rendering from the French architect who wants to build the underwater museum in Alexandria, Egypt.

In early September the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, announced it is funding a team to determine if such a museum would damage the submerged artifacts.

The museum would be located in Alexandria governorate and would showcase the ancient Egyptian civilization. The project is estimated to cost $150 million.

The museum will consist of two parts: One part above the water surface for the relics that have been recovered and another part underwater, stretching over a distance of 7 meters [23 feet] to display the antiquities that are still in the water. Visitors will be able to see the relics either by diving or walking inside underwater tunnels. There will also be glass submarines taking tourists on a tour inside the museum,”.

The plan is for the museum to include four tall underwater buildings in the form of Nile boats connected to one another over an area of 22,000 square meters [5.4 acres]. They will be lined up in a circle with a radius of 40 meters [131 feet]. The museum will accommodate 3 million visitors a year.

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