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Visit the great Egyptian Museum

The name is Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, but people commonly know it as the Egyptian Museum or Museum of Cairo. The giant building shines as one of the key points to visit in Egypt.

Join me now on a virtual visit to the museum. In addition to many photos, you will see tips for YOUR exciting visit when finally in Cairo.

Have you taken your Indiana Jones hat and whip, or maybe your Lara Croft outfits?

No need to ask! Of course I have, Damas! Several minutes ago! I’m ready for this new adventure in Egypt!

Cool!

Take my hand. And a deep breath.

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Egyptian Museum

The current and the new museum

The museum was open to the public in other buildings until the end of the 19th century. The current building houses the 120,000 items — not all in exhibition — since 1902.

This is a test

Oh, wait, Damas. You said “since 1902.” But what about the new Museum of Cairo? It’s been on the news.

Good question.

The new museum is a grandiose (or should I say pharaonic?) project, just like the Egyptian Antiquity deserves. And very modern, I must say. It’s in Giza, near the complex of The Great Pyramids and the Sphinx. I could see the construction works one day and wow, I was impressed.

The inauguration has been postponed several times. It is now expected to happen in 2019. Incidentally, because of this new unit, you may not see some pieces in the current museum, during the coming months, because they will be gradually transferred to the new building.

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Location

The Egyptian Museum is just a few steps away from the Tahrir Square. You see two famous places at the same time — the square and the museum.

Praça Tahrir
In front of the museum, I see the Tahrir Square in the background.

Do you want a precise location? Find the Egyptian Museum on Google Maps.

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Opening times

The Egyptian Museum opens daily from 9AM to 5PM. But pay attention: The box office closes at 4PM.

The schedule will be different if your visit happens during Ramadan. Local authorities determine the new and temporary opening times around one month before Ramadan, but I can say that usually the doors will be open from 9AM to 3PM.

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Tickets

It’s time to open your wallet!

Currently, the ticket costs 120 Egyptian pounds (US$ 6.70 / 5.80€ / 5.20£).

I believe you will spend a little more. Well, you should. First, there’s an extra ticket of 50 Egyptian pounds (US$2.80 / 2.44€ / 2.20£) to take photos inside the museum. Second, a 150 Egyptian pounds fee (US$8.40 / 7.30€ / 6.50£) to enter the Royal Mummies Room.

Oh, wooonderful, Damas! I was afraid of not being allowed to take photos inside the museum! So, I will pay for that extra ticket and take pictures of EVERYTHING! Plus 500 selfies in front of Tutankhamun’s Gold Mask! By the way, 1,000 more selfies next to the mummy of Tutankhamun!

Calm down. Even if you purchase that ticket, you can’t use your camera in the Royal Mummies Room, nor in the room that features Tutankhamun’s mask. And don’t try to take hidden photos. The rooms are well monitored.

Finally, a correction. The mummy of Tutankhamun is not in the Egyptian Museum. You can see him in his own tomb, in the enigmatic Valley of the Kings. I’ll show the mummy and the tomb in great details in this blog.

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The exterior of the building

In all my trips, I try to use my camera to capture points of view not frequently seen by the public. In the case of the Egyptian Museum, we always see the beautiful façade with the main entrance, but rarely the other parts of the building and the area (garden) in front of it.

I invite you to see all of this right now with me. Get ready, because I have some interesting things to show. Have you ever seen papyrus (the plant) and the Lotus flower? Well, you will see them now!

Fachada principal do Museu do Cairo
Em frente do Museu do Cairo
This time, I was with the amazing tour guide Ihab Hamdy. A very exciting day in a group of nice people. (This is a group organized by “Meu Egito“, which means “My Egypt” in Portuguese.)
Fachada principal do Museu do Cairo - outra vista
Fachada principal do Museu do Cairo - Mais um ponto de vista
Fachada principal do Museu do Cairo - outro ângulo
Fachada principal do Museu do Cairo - Mais uma visão
Fachada principal do Museu do Cairo
Fachada principal do Museu do Cairo - Área lateral
Fachada principal do Museu do Cairo
Statues in honor of great egyptologists.
Fachada principal do Museu do Cairo - Papiro
Here it is. PAPYRUS! The source for the famous Egyptian papyri used for writing and drawing.
Flor-de-lótus em frente do Museu do Cairo
Next to the papyrus, we see wonderful flowers like this one. Any idea? Egypt is associated to which flower? That’s it: Lotus flower!
Fachada principal do Museu do Cairo - Compra de ingressos
Here’s where we purchase tickets.
Fila de entrada para o Museu do Cairo
Queue to enter the museum. Oh. Chills. Breathing out of rhythm. Racing heart.

Did you like it?

I’m loving all of this, Damas!

Great! And the photo above reminds you of what? It’s a queue…

I reminds me that it’s time to FINALLY enter the museum!

Exactly!

So… don’t make me wait more!

Let’s go! Follow me!

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Inside the museum

Before our very first step into the museum, I warn you about something very important. There’s no bar in the museum. And no bar outside. So, go to the Egyptian Museum carrying a bottle of water. A small bottle, easy to carry during your visit. Believe me: Except if your visit occurs in Winter, you will want water. In Egypt, we want water, water, water, WATER all the time.

Finally, with our bottle of water, let’s start the best part of the day. This is the first sight inside the museum:

Primeira vista no interior do museu

Wow! How exciting, Damas! This is only the first thing I see inside the museum, but my jaw is already dropping!

I can see that! And notice that there’s a security check right here. This is good.

Now, we start exploring the two main floors of the museum. Ready?

OH.

MY.

GOD.

Yes!

Ancient Egypt is right in front of your eyes. All of that for you to see, smell, maybe touch. It’s exciting, jaw-dropping, intoxicant. A hypnosis that enriches your culture. Even when I come back to the museum, I feel like first time. New ways to look at the same items, and, of course, I always discover new things.

This reminds me of three more warnings.

First: Don’t delude yourself thinking that you will see everything in the museum. With this expectation in mind, you will leave the museum feeling frustrated. Be a realist. Nobody can explore the totality of such a huge museum in just one visit. Remember the Louvre Museum. It’s impossible to see everything there in one day.

Consequently, here comes another warning: only with a good tour guide will you explore the Egyptian Museum properly. That thing is too complex. A spectacular historical richness. Visitors must be guided there. A tour guide knows where to go and make people understand what they see.

Oh, Damas! Very well! And one thing I will certainly see: The gold mask of Tutankhamun!

Of course! All visitors are always super-anxious to see the mask. I believe I can say that it is the greatest star in the museum. There are no words to express my feelings when I see it with just a few centimeters between us. I stay there, still… looking… and looking at it… A hypnosis that lasts for several minutes. This is beautiful, exciting, but brings to us one more warning: Don’t limit your visit to the area dedicated to Tutankhamun, especially to the room that houses the gold mask.

It happens in this area something similar to what we see in Paris: some tourists visit the Louvre with just the Mona Lisa in mind. They want to go to the great room with the painting, take some selfies and… goodbye. They miss most of the treasures in other parts of the museum. Don’t be like those people in the Egyptian Museum. Tutankhamun is certainly the most popular sector of the museum, and I always love to visit it. There’s more appeal there, I know. But explore the remaining of the museum and you will have HUGE surprises.

One of the greatest surprises is the Royal Mummies Room. You read this name when I was speaking about the tickets for the museum. You will need an extra ticket to enter this room, and photos are totally forbidden. But it’s worth the visit. Trust me. For instance, you will see there, face to face (!), the mummy of the powerful Ramesses II and the mummy of the great Hatshepsut.

One more thing. We sh—

Wait. Enough talking! How about some PHOTOS?

Oh, it’s about time, Damas! In the beginning of this post, you promised “lots of photos.”  Right?

Right.

So… let’s move on!

Interior do Museu do Cairo
Interior do Museu do Cairo
Interior do Museu do Cairo
Interior do Museu do Cairo
The tour guide Ihab Hamdy leads a group of tourists.
Interior do Museu do Cairo
Mummies, mummies, muuuuummiiiieees!
Interior do Museu do Cairo
Detail of a mummy.
Múmias no Museu do Cairo
Interior do Museu do Cairo
Interior do Museu do Cairo
One of the most famous images from the Ancient Egypt. Right in front of you!
Interior do Museu do Cairo
Interior do Museu do Cairo
Interior do Museu do Cairo
Interior do Museu do Cairo
Interior do Museu do Cairo
The only image of Khufu you will see in Egypt. It’s made of ivory.
Interior do Museu do Cairo
Hold your breath. You see here the viscera of Khufu’s mother!
Interior do Museu do Cairo
Alabaster was frequently used by Ancient Egyptians when building statues, tombs, ornaments, temples, etc. Ask your tour guide to use a flashlight to illuminate this tomb from inside (the tomb is just a few steps away from that small statue of Khufu). There is a certain transparency in the alabaster: The stone appears to glow in a reddish-yellow light.
Interior do Museu do Cairo
Múmia de Ramsés II no Museu do Cairo
The mummy of Ramesses II in the Royal Mummies Room. (This photo, exceptionally, is not mine.)
Múmia de Hatshepsut
The mummy of Queen Hatshepsut in the same room. (This photo, exceptionally, is not mine.)

So… what do you think of all this so far?

Amazing, Damas! But… until now… nothing about Tutankhamun!

Of course not. This is a clever strategy to keep your attention here.

But enough of torture. Let’s finally see the big area dedicated to Tut!

Interior do Museu do Cairo - Busto de Tutancamon
Bust of Tutankhamun.
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Trono
The main throne of Tutankhamun.
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Trono de festas religiosas.
Tutankhamun’s throne used in religious events.
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Sandálias
Tutankhamun’s sandals. Can you believe this? He put his little feet here! There’s something very curious in this piece. The drawings represent enemies conquered by Tutankhamun. In a symbolic gesture, he steps on his enemies! Would you like to go for a walk using these sandals?
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Leque
Tutankhamun’s fan. The feathers? Ostrich. Would you like to freshen up with this?
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Cetro de Tut
YES, this is what you think. The scepter of Tutankhamun.
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Jogo
A board game.
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Peças de alabastro
Alabaster. Always the popular alabaster. Take a special look at two of these items. First, at left, in the foreground, the candle holder. It is one of the relics found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. I purchased a replica in a store in Luxor. Second, also at left, but in the background, a jar of perfume.
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Jarro de alabastro
Take a closer look at the jar.
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Jarro de perfume
Unbelievable: The jar is still sealed! With beeswax! Would you like to open this lid to feel the fragrance preserved for thousands of years?
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Jarro de perfume, feito de alabastro.
Another jar… but this one is open! Who had the pleasure of smelling the perfume? Oh, I’m so jealous!
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Cama mortuária
Tutankhamun’s mortuary bed.
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Carruagem
Tutankhamun’s carriage.
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Caixa com o sarcófago de Tutancamon
The sarcophagus of Tutankhamun was found inside three large “boxes” — one inside the other. This is one of them (opposite side in the next photo).
Interior do Museu do Cairo
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Sala com a máscara de Tutancamon
So far, you are walking in a huge area dedicated to Tutankhamun. OK, great, wonderful. But where is the gold mask? You are anxious. Suddenly, you look at your side… and… wait, what’s that room behind the glass? What’s that in the middle of the room?
Interior do Museu do Cairo - Sala com a máscara de Tutancamon
A zoom photo through the window. (Cameras are totally forbidden in this room. Don’t try to be smart here. Hidden photo is not a good idea.) Imagine yourself losing your breath next to THAT! By the way, do not think that the mask is the only item in this room. You will also see other parts of Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus and many of his jewels.

What now? Happy to see all of this?

Happy? Damas, I’m drooling!

I could notice that.

I hope you visit this museum. Tell me later how was your experience.

Wait! Don’t go now. Do you have more photos? OK, there’s a loooot of photos in this post, but the museum is huge, and maybe you have more photos to show.

Sure. I’m cute and cuddly, so here is the link for my Google Photos album created for one of my visits to the museum:

PHOTOS
Almost 300 photos.
Have fun!

May the Egyptian gods inspire your thoughts! 😉

By GLAUCO DAMAS

Moro em Portugal. Atuo como autor desde 2001. Publiquei livros infanto-juvenis, inclusive pela Editora Saraiva. Em 2013, surgiram o primeiro livro técnico e o primeiro guia de viagem.

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