Egypt's Crocodile museum to re-open on Tuesday

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The Crocodile Museum at Kom Ombo opened on Tuesday after two weeks of being closed for repairs due to damage sustained during a heavy sandstorm.

Egypt's Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online that strong winds entered via the museum's ventilation shafts and caused damage to the ceiling's ceramic decoration, which then collapsed.

"The artefacts on display at the museum are safe and sound, as the decorative items fell on the floor and not the showcases," Ibrahim said.

The ministry's engineering department inspected the ceiling's condition, restored the ceramic decoration and inserted it in its original location, Ibrahim said.

Ali El-Asfar, head of the ministry's ancient Egyptian antiquities department, explained that the ceramic decorative elements are not authentic, as rumours suggested, but are actually new and only used for decoration.

Before being a museum, said El-Asfar, the Crocodile Museum was used as a police station, which disfigured the panorama of the whole Kom Ombo temple and the archaeological site.

The antiquities ministry then converted it into a museum for crocodiles, which were worshipped by the people of Aswan during the ancient Egyptian era.

According to the ancient Egyptian religion, people were protected from crocodile attacks by Sobek, the Nile crocodile god.

The museum contains 22 crocodile mummies of different shapes and sizes, displayed on sand inside a huge glass showcase that illustrates how crocodiles lay down on the banks of the Nile.

A number of crocodile coffins, wooden sarcophagi, fetuses and crocodile eggs are also exhibited, along with stelae and statues of Sobek with a human body and crocodile head. Replicas of Sobek's original tombs and niches are also on show.

Sobek mummification processes are also illustrated, as well as a funerary ceremony and burial in the necropolis. (Al Ahram)