– SEPTEMBER 13, 2015
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or Museum of Cairo, is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display, the remainder in storerooms.
The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities contains many important pieces of ancient Egyptian history. It houses the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities. The museum was established and moved multiple times over the years due to flooding and theft, resulting in the current location in Tahrir Square. This building is terrible with no air conditioning or mechanical system to keep the antiquities preserved. As such, a new museum (being funded by other countries of course, because you learn that historically Egypt goes to USA, Russia, Germany or England to fund their major construction) is being built beside the pyramids with an expected opening date in the next 2-3 years.
During the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, the museum was broken into, and two mummies were reportedly destroyed. Several artifacts were also shown to have been damaged. Around 50 objects were lost. Since then 25 objects have been found. Those that were restored were put on display in September 2013 in an exhibition entitled Damaged and Restored. Among the displayed artifacts are two statues of King Tutankhamen made of cedar wood and covered with gold, a statue of King Akhenaton, Ushabtis statues that belonged to the Nubian kings, a mummy of a child and a small plychrome glass vase.
There are two main floors in the museum, the ground floor and the second floor. On the ground floor there is an extensive collection of papyrus and coins used in the Ancient world. The numerous pieces of papyrus are generally small fragments, due to their decay over the past two millennia. Several languages are found on these pieces, including Greek, Latin, Arabic, and ancient Egyptian. The coins found on this floor are made of many different metals, including gold, silver, and bronze. The coins are not only Egyptian, but also Greek, Roman, and Islamic. This has helped historians research the history of Ancient Egyptian trade.
Also on the ground floor are artifacts from the New Kingdom, the time period between 1550 and 1069 BC. These artifacts are generally larger than items created in earlier centuries. Those items include statues, tables, and coffins (sarcophagi).
On the second floor there are artifacts from the final two dynasties of Egypt, including items from the tombs of the Pharaohs Thutmosis III, Thutmosis IV, Amenophis II, Hatshepsut, and the courtier Maiherpri, as well as many artifacts from the Valley of the Kings, in particular the material from the intact tombs of Tutankhamun (King Tut) and Psusennes I. Two special rooms contain a number of mummies of kings and other royal family members of the New Kingdom.
This was our first sight in Cairo and while it was uncomfortable in the heat/humidity, you could get lost in some of these ancient artifacts (especially the treasures of King Tut).
For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.