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An exciting visit to the Cairo Museum

Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is the name, but people commonly know it as Cairo Museum. The enormous building shines as a key point to visit in Egypt.

On this virtual tour, you will see dozens of photos and tips for your visit.

Have you taken your Indiana Jones hat or maybe your Lara Croft garments?

No need to ask! Of course I have, Damas! Ready for this new adventure in Cairo!

I’m impressed.

Take my hand and come with me. May the good Egyptian gods be with us.

The unforgettable museum

The building has housed 120,000 items — not all available to visitors — since 1902. When th—

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

That’s what I was about to say.

new museum will open to the public soon to replace the Cairo Museum — grand (pharaonic?) project as the Egyptian Antiquity deserves. It will be in Giza (part of Greater Cairo), conveniently close to the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx complex. I saw the construction works and got impressed.

Map with the new Egyptian Museum.
The new museum and the archaeological site with the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx.

Egyptian authorities have postponed the inauguration of this new museum several times. Finally, they confirmed the grand opening for the second half of 2020, but Covid-19 ruined the excitement. I believe now it will be ready in 2022 or 2023.

Because of this new unit, you will not see some items in the current museum during the coming months. They are being gradually transferred.

Location

The Cairo Museum is just a few steps from the famous Tahrir Square.

Tahrir Square near the Museum of Cairo
In front of the museum gates, I see Tahrir Square in the background.

You certainly want the precise location. Find the museum now on Google Maps.

Opening times

The Cairo Museum opens daily from 9 AM to 5 PM (box office closing at 4 PM).

The new museum is a pharaonic project.

The schedule will be different if your visit happens during Ramadan. Local authorities decide the temporary opening times around one month before. You’ll need to check, but the doors will presumably open from 9 AM to 3 PM.

Tickets

Time to open your wallet!

The ticket costs 120 Egyptian pounds (± US$ 6.70 / 5.80 € / 5.20 £).

I suppose you will spend a little more because there’s an extra ticket of 50 Egyptian pounds (US$ 2.80 / 2.44 € / 2.20 £) to take photos inside the museum. Also, to enter the unmissable Royal Mummies Room, 150 Egyptian pounds (US$ 8.40 / 7.30 € / 6.50 £). (Update – The Royal Mummies have already been transferred to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. But attention, please: This is one more new museum, not that one in construction in Giza.)

Oh, woooonderful, Damas! I was afraid of not being allowed to use my camera inside the museum. I will pay for that extra ticket and take pictures of EVERYTHING, plus hundreds of selfies in front of Tutankhamun’s gold mask! Oh wait, one thousand more selfies next to the mummy of Tutankhamun!

Well, well, well. I love your excitement about Ancient Egypt, but now I have two notes for you.

First, even if you buy that ticket to take pictures, you can’t use your camera or smartphone in the Royal Mummies Room, nor in the crowded room that features Tutankhamun’s mask and other items. And don’t take hidden photos, because the staff monitors the rooms.

Tutankhamun’s tresures make our heart race.

Second, a correction. The mummy of Tutankhamun is not in the Cairo Museum. You can see him in his tomb in the enigmatic Valley of the Kings, Luxor. This blog will show you the mummy and the tomb in detail.

The exterior of the building

I often try to use my camera to capture points of view not commonly known by the public.

When discussing the Cairo Museum, we always see its magnificent facade with the main entrance, but not other parts of the building and the space (garden) in front of it. I have some exciting things to show. For instance, have you ever seen papyrus (the plant) and the Lotus flower?

Main entrance of the Cairo Museum.
The main entrance.
In front of Cairo Museum
This time, I was with the famous tour guide Ihab Hamdy. An exciting day with a group of pleasant people. (This is a VIP group organized by “Meu Egito,” which means “My Egypt” in the Portuguese language. I am a co-founder.)
Another view in the front area of the museum.

Delighting people since 1902.

Another view in the front area of the museum.
Another view in the front area of the museum.
Another view in the front area of the museum.
Side area
Side area with statues
Statues in honor of great Egyptologists.
Papyrus in the Cairo Museum
Papyrus: the source of the famous Egyptian papyri used for writing and drawing.
Lotus flower
Next to the papyrus, we see beautiful flowers like this one. Any idea? People associate Egypt with which flower? That’s it: Lotus flower.
Box office
Here’s where we purchase tickets.
Entrance queue.
The queue to enter the museum.

I’m loving all of this, Damas!

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

It reminds me to FINALLY enter the museum!

Exactly.

So, don’t make me wait more!

Sure. But before our first step into the museum, I warn you about one thing.

There’s no bar around. So, go to the Cairo Museum carrying a bottle of water. A small, easy-to-carry bottle. Except if your visit occurs in Winter, you will want a lot of water. In Egypt, we want water, water, WATER all the time.

Inside the museum

Finally, with our water, let’s start the best part of the day.

This is the first sight inside:

Entering the Cairo Museum

Notice that there’s a security check here.

Now, we explore the two main floors. Ancient Egypt is right in front of our eyes. All of that for us to see, smell and maybe touch. It’s jaw-dropping.

Even when I return to the museum, I feel like the first time. I get involved in fresh ways to look at the same items, and there are always new things to discover.

Oh, this reminds me of two more warnings.

Not the entire museum

First: Don’t delude yourself into thinking that you will see everything in the museum. With this assumption in mind, you will leave the place feeling frustrated. Be realistic: Nobody can explore the totality of such a vast museum in just one visit. (The same applies to the British Museum, the Louvre Museum, etc.)

A [really] good tour guide

An excellent tour guide at your side is the only way to explore the Cairo Museum properly. That thing is too complex. Visitors need guidance. A tour guide knows where to go — according to the time available — and makes people understand what they see.

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

Of course! Visitors are always eager to see that mask. It is the most outstanding star in the museum. There are no words to express my feelings when I see it just a few centimeters away. I stay there, looking and looking at it, in hypnosis that lasts for several minutes.

One more thing. We sh—

Wait. Enough talking! Damas, where are the PHOTOS? In the beginning of this post, you promised “lots of photos.”  Right?

Right.

Walking inside

Let’s move on!

Inside the Cairo Museum (upper view)
Inside the Cairo Museum.
Inside the Cairo Museum.
A tour guide explains an item in the museum
The tour guide Ihab Hamdy leads a group of tourists.
Mummies
Mummies, mummies, muuuuummiiiieees!

The house of many mummies.

Detail of a mummy
Detail of a mummy.
A mummy
Inside the Cairo Museum.
Inside the Cairo Museum.
One of the most famous images from Ancient Egypt is now in front of us.
Inside the Cairo Museum.
Inside the Cairo Museum.
Inside the Cairo Museum.
Inside the Cairo Museum.
Mini statue of Khufu
You will see the only image (made of ivory) of Khufu in Egypt.
Inside the Cairo Museum.
Hold your breath because you see here the viscera of Khufu’s mother.
Inside the Cairo Museum.
Ancient Egyptians used alabaster when building statues, tombs, ornaments, temples, etc. Ask your tour guide to use a flashlight to illuminate this tomb from the inside (the tomb is just a few steps away from that small statue of Khufu). The alabaster has certain transparency: The stone glows in a reddish-yellow light.
Inside the Cairo Museum.
Ramesses II
The mummy of Ramesses II in the Royal Mummies Room (this photo is not mine).
Hatshepsut
The mummy of Queen Hatshepsut in the same room (this photo, exceptionally, is not mine).

So, what do you think so far?

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

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

Tutankhamun

But enough of the torture. Let’s visit the extensive zone dedicated to Tut.

Statue of Tutankhamun
Bust of Tutankhamun.
Throne of Tutankhamun
The main throne of Tutankhamun.
Throne
Tutankhamun’s throne used in religious ceremonies.
Sandals of Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun’s sandals. Can you believe this? He put his little feet here! The drawings represent enemies he conquered in battles. Symbolically, he stepped on his enemies! Would you go for a walk using these sandals?
Fan of Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun’s fan. The feathers? Ostrich.
Scepter of Tutankhamun
YES, this shining item is what you think: the scepter of Tutankhamun!
Board game
A board game.

Fun fact: the tomb of King Tut, in the Valley of the Kings, was not originally made for him.

Alabaster items
Alabaster. Always the famous alabaster. Take a closer look at two of these items. First, at the left, in the foreground: The candleholder is a relic found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. I purchased a replica in a store in Luxor. Second, also at the left, but in the background, is a jar of perfume.
Alabaster jar
Inspect the jar.
Alabaster jar
Unbelievable: There’s a seal in the jar! With beeswax! Would you open this lid to appreciate the fragrance preserved for thousands of years?
Open alabaster jar
Another jar, but this one is open. Who had the pleasure of smelling the perfume? I’m so jealous!
Mortuary bed
Tutankhamun’s mortuary bed.
Carriage
Tutankhamun’s carriage.
Box for sarcophagus
Archaeologists found the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun inside three large “boxes” — one inside the other. This is one of them (see the opposite side in the next photo).
Dor of the box
The room with the golden mask
So far, you are walking in a spacious area dedicated to Tutankhamun. OK, great, fantastic. But where is the gold mask? You are anxious. Suddenly, you look at your side, and oh, wait, what’s that room behind the glass? What’s that in the middle of the room?
The golden mask of Tutankhamun
A zoomed photo through the glass (remember: they forbid cameras in this room). Imagine yourself losing your breath next to THAT! By the way, the mask is not 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?

Damas, I am drooling! Oh. My. God.

I could notice that.

I hope you visit this museum and tell me about your experience.

Wait! Don’t go now. Do you have more photos?

Sure.

More photos

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

PHOTOS
Almost 300 photos.
Have fun!

May the Egyptian gods inspire your thoughts! 😉


GLAUCO DAMAS
» I live in the Algarve (South of Portugal). My first fiction book, for young adults, was published in 2001 in the Portuguese language — a time travel adventure with thousands of readers. I also wrote books and guides about travel and technology. Screenplays are my greatest passion.

» This is the English version of my blog G. DAMAS (Portuguese language, online since 2010). English is not my native language.

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