Hi! Let's continue our acquaintance with the amazing Cairo. The next stop in our journey through the ancient city is the exhibition space, which I consider the second most popular attraction in Egypt after the Giza Pyramids — the Cairo Museum on Tahrir Square.
Egyptian Museum: visit
The museum building is located in the Downtown area, in the northern part of Tahrir Square. It's worth noting that many exhibition spaces in Cairo close relatively early. For example, the Egyptian Museum is open from 09:00 to 17:00, and tickets can be purchased until 16:15. The cost of an adult ticket for a foreign guest is 200 Egyptian pounds. If you're bringing a camera, you'll need to pay an additional 50 pounds.
A bit of history
The first Egyptian Museum of Antiquities was established in 1835; however, after a few decades, most of the items in this collection were transferred to the heir of the Austrian throne. The new museum in the Boulaq area opened in 1863, and as the number of exhibits grew, it was decided to move it to the Ismail Pasha Palace in Giza.
Soon after the move to Giza, an international competition was announced for the construction of a separate museum building, this time closer to the city center. The architect Marcel Dourgnon designed the new building, and the official opening of the exhibition took place in 1902.
The collection of antiquities is displayed on two floors of the building. The halls on the first floor are arranged chronologically from the Ancient Kingdom to the Greco-Roman period, clockwise. The exhibition spaces on the second floor are grouped thematically. The main hall in the central part of the building features monumental sculpture from various periods.
One of the guides to Cairo recommends dividing your visit to the Cairo Museum into several times, so you can take the time to see all the items. From my experience, it depends on who you're visiting the museum with and how interested you are in exploring the treasures of Ancient Egypt. Not all exhibits in the exhibition halls are labeled, so a self-guided tour may turn into contemplation of unusual objects, and such a journey will take only a few hours. A guide on-site can provide much more information about the museum objects.
One of the main and most famous attractions of the Egyptian Museum is the burial golden mask of King Tutankhamun, located in one of the halls on the second floor. The decoration of this priceless artifact includes gold, lapis lazuli, colored glass, obsidian, and turquoise. Photography is not allowed in the room where the mask is stored, but anyone can look at this artifact without leaving home by taking a virtual tour on the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities website.
In sources, I found diverse information about the number of items in the museum's collection: somewhere it is mentioned that there are more than 120,000, somewhere there is a mention of 180,000 exhibits. Probably, by today, their quantity has decreased somewhat after the so-called "Pharaohs' Golden Parade" that took place in April 2021. This unusual name was given to the procession in which some museum valuables were transferred to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. Today, in Giza, the construction of the complex of the new Grand Egyptian Museum is underway, where some items from the old building have also been moved. However, according to information from the internet, the opening of the new exhibition space has been postponed several times.
The next article awaits you with a story about the Manial Palace located in the central part of the capital of Egypt.
Have a nice trip!