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:
* 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.
* 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.
* 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 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.
Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit