The Egyptian Museum in Cairo
Egyptian Museum in Cairo

The magnificent building, which now houses the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, was designed by French architect Marcel Durnion. It contains the largest collection of Egyptian art in the world.

A huge interest in ancient Egypt arose among Europeans at the turn of the XVII and XVIII centuries and was due to at least three factors: the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt in 1798, the discovery of the Rosetta stone in 1799, and the publication in France in 1809-1816 of the most complete scientific work “Description of Egypt.”

Europeans who visited this country exported entire collections of Egyptian antiquities, many of which made up the core of the exhibits that are currently in many museums in Europe. To stop the uncontrolled export of historical values ​​in 1834, at the direction of Pasha Muhammad Ali, a museum was founded, where all the exhibits were cataloged. Soon after, the collection was moved to the Citadel in Cairo. Unfortunately, the entire originally collected collection was donated by the Archbishop of Austria to Maximilian, and is currently in Vienna.

In 1858, one of the directors of the Louvre, Auguste Mariet, arrived in Egypt to guide the excavation. In a small town near Cairo , a new collection was assembled, which laid the foundation for the Cairo Egyptian Museum.

In 1902, the collection was moved to a building that today adorns one of Cairo’s central squares, Tahrir.

The Egyptian Museum has a rich collection of dynastic cultural treasures. More than one hundred halls and galleries host about 150 thousand exhibits. It would take several days or even weeks to inspect the entire collection. Therefore, it is worth paying attention to the most interesting.

At the entrance you will see giant sculptures depicting Amenhotep and his wife Tia. Contrary to tradition, her figure is the same size as the figure of the pharaoh himself.

On the ground floor of the museum are exhibited works of the Amarna period. They are much more realistic than everything that was created in Egypt before, and after them. What is one head of the famous queen Nefertiti!

Egyptian Museum in Cairo – Queen of Nefertiti

First of all, these are the treasures of the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun , exhibited at the far end of the second floor. The tomb was discovered in 1922 in the Valley of the Kings , near the city of Luxor. The find became an archaeological sensation of the twentieth century, since the tomb of Tutankhamun is the only one of the royal tombs found unplanned in its original form. Her treasures were so numerous that their description and transportation to the Egyptian Museum took five years. In the halls where the tomb treasures are exhibited, four gilded wooden arks are installed. Once they kept a stone sarcophagus of Tutankhamun, which is still located in the Valley of the Kings. The museum presents three sarcophagi, one of which is made of cast gold, weighing 110 kilograms. The whole world knows the now posthumous golden mask of young Tutankhamun. She reliably reproduces the face of this young pharaoh, who died at the age of 18. Another priceless exhibit is the gilded throne of Tutankhamun, adorned with precious stones. The armrests are made in the form of snakes, lion heads are located on the sides of the seat. On the back of the throne is the pharaoh himself with his beloved wife.

Museum inside

Recently, the royal mummy hall was reopened. In the windows where the mummies lie, a microclimate is created, as in the tombs of the Valley of the Kings. The mummies of 11 pharaohs are exhibited here, including Ramses II, Thutmose II and Seti I.

Generally speaking, there are no uninteresting exhibits in the Egyptian Museum; they were selected from hundreds of thousands stored in storage. Everything exhibited in the halls is unique, and amazes with the skill of ancient artists and sculptors.

In Cairo, there is no museum where one could trace the entire long history of Egypt – from the Pharaohs to the presidents. A separate museum is dedicated to each period of Egyptian history: Egyptian, Coptic and Islamic in Cairo, Greco-Roman in Alexandria .

In one of the areas of old Cairo, known in ancient times as the Babylon of Egypt, Christians (Copts) have long lived (see Christian Cairo). In 1910, the Coptic Museum was founded on the basis of a collection of objects of art and culture that belonged to Copt Marcus Simaike. The building itself can serve as an example of Coptic art: doors, a balcony, window bars, door and window locks are taken from old Coptic houses and churches. 29 halls display exhibits dating back to 300-1000, articles of stone and metal, fabrics and manuscripts in the new outbuilding of the museum, crafts made of wood, clay and glass in the old.

The Museum of Islamic Art is a unique treasury of Islamic culture, which has about 62,000 works of art in its funds. Manuscripts, miniatures, carpets, fabrics, weapons and other exhibits stored here will help to get a fairly complete picture of the history of Muslim art.

Read More: Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Cairo

Also Read: Things to do on holiday in Egypt

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