Monday, November 08, 2010

The Pharaonic Village

Al Masry Al Youm (Louise Sarant)

With photos.

n 1984, a renowned papyrus maker, Hussam Ragab, opened the world’s first living museum, the Pharaonic Village on the island of Qorsaya, in Giza. His boundless ambition led him to research the lives of the Ancient Egyptians and their habitat to the smallest details in order to establish a living museum that would realistically depict the everyday lives of the Egyptians 4,000 years ago.

Ragab already owned a part of the Island, where he was growing the world’s largest papyrus plantation. The iconic Egyptian plant had gradually disappeared during the industrial era, when new paper techniques invaded worldwide markets. His quest for papyrus seeds led him to Uganda and Ethiopia and the US, where he viewed an exhibition that retraced the lives of the first American settlers.

The American exhibition gave him the idea for creating a museum on Ancient Egyptian history, but a living one, with actors in costumes operating in a typically Pharaonic environment.

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