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What to see in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo ?

By: Stuart Cheese

In my capacity as the UK Director of Operations for One World Tours Limited, I am often asked all kinds of travel questions.
A client recently enquired about travelling to Egypt for the first time and wanted my advice on what to see at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Here are my tips....

There are over 120,000 items in the Egyptian Museum, so assuming on a typical holidays in Egypt, you will spend a maximum of 1 day there, here is my suggestion for the must see objects in the museum.

The Cairo Museum or the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities to give it its full name, should definitely be high on the list of anyone who is planning on visiting Cairo. You do have to keep in mind however that if you spent 1 minute looking at each exhibit it would take you approximately nine months to see everything – not really practical (unless you are planning a really long visit !)

The Museum Collection started in 1830 and was created to attempt to help stem the flow of items being stolen or removed out of the country. The current Egyptian Museum itself was opened on November the 15th 1902 and was designed by French architect Marcel Dourgnon.

The range of items is vast and many people assume that the museum holds just “Pharaonic” artefacts whereas in fact it actually holds exhibits dating from Prehistoric Egypt right through to the end of Roman times.

There are 42 rooms on the first floor and 47on the second and they are “generally” in chronological order. The 1st floor has a large atrium with the larger exhibits including a massive pair of statues of Rameses II and Amenhotep III and his wife Tiye. These are actually best viewed from above (from the 2nd floor)

Not surprisingly the most popular exhibits are to be found in the Tutankamun gallery. This amazing collection of items was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. 3000 items are to be found here including the most famous of all, his “death” mask and other items such as his coffin, throne and various items of jewellery etc.

The famous Rosetta stone is also here in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. This stone is vitally important as it went a long way to helping us understand the ancient Egyptian writings and carvings. The Rosetta stone importantly carries 3 different scripts

The first is hieroglyphic, which was the script used in those times for many important and / or religious documents. The second is demotic which was the traditional daily / common script of Ancient Egypt. The final / third is Greek which was considered to be the language of the rulers of Egypt.

The final must see exhibit has to be the Mummy Room. There is an extra charge to visit here, but it is well worth it. There are up to 27 Mummies on display at anytime and it’s a truly amazing site to see. They are incredibly well preserved and you can even see teeth, hair and finger nails. In my opinion this is the closest contact you can really make to ancient Egypt and the people who would have walked the “dunes” in those ancient times.

In closing, the above are no doubt the most important items you should try and take in, but ultimately visiting the museum and what you get out of it is a state of mind. There is definitely an argument for being guided around the museum and making sure you take in all the best items, but also just consider wandering at your leisure and just take in whatever you find. There is no doubt that whilst some of the items are less popular, they are without doubt no less fascinating.

Article Source:

Stuart Cheese is the UK Director of Operations for One World Tours and, having visited over 110 countries, has a wealth of travel experience. One World Tours / The Please Rate this Article




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