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By Culturekiosque Staff

CAIRO, 20 AUGUST 2010 — After a $10-million restoration project that lasted 8 years, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt officially reopened the world’s largest Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo on Saturday 14 August 2010.

The twenty-five galleries comprising more than 2,500 artifacts from a total archive of over 100,000 objects is scheduled to open to public view in early September.

The first wing displays materials from Egypt’s own Islamic history in chronological order Umayyad, Abbasid, Tulunid, Fatimid, Ayubid, Mameluke and Ottoman. The second wing houses artefacts from other nations, such as calligraphy, manuscripts, incense burners, dated to various periods in Islamic history and organized according to chronology, provenance and material.

According to Agence France Presse, two of the rare treasures on view include a gold-inlaid key to the Kaaba, the massive building that houses the black stone in the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, and the oldest Islamic dinar ever found, dating back to the year 697. The Prophet Muhammed, founder of the religion of Islam, died in 632.

The 1903 building in central Cairo was originally built to house and protect the country's rich heritage from looters of antiquities, noted the report.

Last Saturday's opening of the museum came during the first week of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

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