World’s first underwater museum proposed in Alexandria: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced in September last year that they will give funds to a team to determine if under water museum world damage the artifacts. UN has made a team which will work for the design of the museum along with Egypt government. Site for museum has been proposed nearby the New Library of Alexandria, where the famed queen of Egypt is believed to have sheltered herself with her lover Marc Antony before taking her own life. If this museum will be built then visitors will be able to see many monuments and treasures of her palace. Palace was on an island and it was among largest human bay in the world but it was submerged by earthquakes from the fourth century A.D. onwards. The bay is filled archaeological sunken treasures. In the 1990s archaeologist-divers found thousands of objects: 26 sphinxes, statues bearing gifts to the gods, blocks weighing up to 56 tons, and even Roman and Greek shipwrecks. This museum will also contain many other master piece works in it which visitors will be able to see and it will first museum of its kind. The planned museum would be both inland and underwater. The dual nature is proposed to create an understanding like that of a conventional museum while also allowing visitors to observe artifacts in their flooded states.
Sunken treasures to be shown in museum: Proposed museum will include pieces which were believed to be from the Pharos of Alexandria lighthouse which was counted among one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. Archaeologists from different parts of world have located more than 2,000 submerged objects in the zone of the bay where they believe that the lighthouse was standing in past. Naguib Amin, is the site management expert from Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the wealth of this region is quite impressive. He said that sort of the whole prehistoric city of Alexandria is lying under the water and it is just few meters away from the shore. One of the leaders of feasibility study for the museum, Jacques Rougerie from Paris said that whenever you visit an archaeological place then it is exceptional emotion which someone feels. It is not a movie which we watch in theaters or somewhere else, its reality which existed in past. He said it is amazing and one can’t express how wonderful experience it is as an astronaut can’t share with other people that how it feels to be in space. Rougerie has designed a building with four tall structures shaped like the sails of feluccas, the sailboats that have journeyed the Nile since ancient times. These glass sails represent the four points of a compass and are illuminated with blue light in Rougerie’s illustrations. He said that those four points will be like the lighthouse of Alexandria that illuminated the library and the world and he wants to do the same thing with this museum as well. Naguib Amin told that the larger part is inland museum which will have underwater fiberglass tunnels to structures where visitors can view antiquities still lying on the seabed. But the bay’s murky waters could obscure the views of submerged monuments. The builders of the museum will either have to clean the water or replace it entirely with an artificial lagoon. As it stands, we have creative idea.
Logistic concerns for making underwater museum: There are many logistic concerns about the proposed underwater museum. Complete research work and feasibility study about the museum has been done with various aspects. The proposed museum is planned to be underwater not only due to aesthetic value but also because it follows the 2001 UNESCO convention for the preservation of underwater heritage. According to the convection decision submerged artifacts should ideally remain on the seabed out of respect for their historical context and, in some cases, because water actually preserves artifacts. But building directly over the submerged artifacts could damage them and it one of a number of logistical issues that a feasibility team of archaeologists, architects, engineers, economists, and bureaucrats will examine in the next two years about the museum. If the feasibility study concludes that the museum can be built safely, planners are optimistic it could be constructed in three years. The cost of the museum, however, has not been determined, and funding has not yet been secured. Jacques Rougerie said that underwater construction will be very costly and there will be many technical problems as well so to avoid more people, plan was to divide the museum among two parts so it could host the maximum amount of people. There are also concerns about the safety of visitors which are under investigation by the team. The structure integrity of the building is not a major problem as the Alexandria bay is only about 16 to 20 feet deep and architects will not face strong pressure of water on the walls of museum which will keep it safe to large extent.
Alexandria city of Egypt: Alexandria is second largest city of Egypt and it is country’s largest seaport as well which serves about eighty per cent of nation’s import and exports from other parts of world. Alexandria extends about 32 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in north-central Egypt. City is commercially very important for the country as it is industrial center of Egypt due to availability of various resources like natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez, another city of country. City is center of attraction for the tourists from across the world. Alexandria was known because of its lighthouse which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; its library was the largest library in the ancient world; and the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa was one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbour of Alexandria, which began in 1994, is revealing details of Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhacotis existed there, and during the Ptolemaic dynasty. City has many other tourist places as well and when underwater museum will be completed then it will give boost to the tourist industry of the country as well.Share