February 3, 2011 / 6:27 PM / 8 years ago

Factbox: Tahrir Square again part of Egyptian history

CAIRO (Reuters) - Cairo’s Midan (Liberation) Square has seen 10 days of demonstrations calling for an end to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 years of authoritarian rule.

Here are some details about the square:

WHERE IS IT?

* It is near a bridge over the Nile and is surrounded by some of the most important buildings in Cairo — the national museum, the colossal Mogamma administrative building, the headquarters of the ruling NDP party (torched by protesters), state TV and several international hotels.

PARIS ON THE NILE:

* The square gained importance in the 19th century during the rule of Khedive Ismael, who was determined to create a “Paris on the Nile,” with broad boulevards punctuated by squares and public gardens.

* The site became the main square of the palace districts, sometimes known as the city’s European quarter. The square was then named Midan al-Ismaileyya.

REVOLUTION:

* The square was filled during the 1952 revolution which overthrew King Farouk and brought the military to power under Gamal Abdul Nasser. In 1954 it was renamed Liberation Square.

* Nasser redeveloped it again, tearing down the barracks which had once housed occupying British troops.

THE MUSEUM:

* The Egyptian Museum on the north edge of the square was designed by French architect Marcel Dourgon and inaugurated in 1902 by Khedive Abbas Helmi.

* Home to the relics of 7,000 years of civilization, among them the Tutankhamun collection and the royal Mummy Room.

* Looters broke into the museum last week and destroyed two Pharaonic mummies, officials said.

Sources: Reuters/www.touregypt.net

Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit

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