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The Centre for Egyptological Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (CESRAS) was established in November, 1999 by the decree of the Presidium of the RAS. Before that, in 1992–1999, the Centre was part of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In 2000, the Centre founded the Russian Institute of Egyptology in Cairo (RIEC). The Institute is permanent seat of the Russian archaeological mission in the Arab Republic of Egypt.

The main activity of the Centre is scientific research in the fields of history, culture, languages and religion of ancient, medieval, and modern Egypt. The research is based on the study of literary and material sources found during the archaeological fieldwork of CESRAS. In 1992 CESRAS took part in the archaeological excavations of the site Tell Ibrahim Awad, in the framework of the Russian-Dutch mission, a joint project on the early history of the Delta. From 1998 till 2006, in collaboration with the Institute of Egyptology and Coptology of the Muenster University, CESRAS carried out the archaeological study and survey of  the Theban Tomb 320, the famous “Cache of the Royal Mummies”. Since 2001, the Centre has conducted regular excavations at Memphis, Fayum, Luxor, and Alexandria.

The Coptic cultural heritage, its restoration, study and publication is another important area of the CESRAS activities. Since 1999, the Centre, together with Russian, Egyptian, and US colleagues, has worked on the scientific restoration of Coptic icons. Since 2004 the Centre, in collaboration with the Grabar Art Conservation Center and the SCA, has been studying the history of the al-Mu‘allaqa Church of the Holy Virgin in Old Cairo and conducted the restoration of the internal decorations of the church. In 1997 the Centre started to take part in the project "Databank of Eastern-European Egyptology”. The goal of this project is to collect, store and analyse the date on the collections of Egyptian antiquities kept in the museums of Russia, CIS, Eastern European countries, and Egypt.

The Centre collaborates with Russian and international research institutions and universities and takes part in several outreach public projects aimed at popularising the history of Ancient Egypt.