A window to peep in Ancient Egypt’s history
While tours of Aswan, Luxor, Valley of Kings, Gizza Pyramids, and Alexandria give you one on one experience of the gigantic structures or delicate craftsmanship, but if you would like a minute and detailed knowledge of Egyptian history, Cairo Museum should be listed top in your itinerary.
You won’t miss the Building of Cairo Museum with crimson color is understandably different from the rest of the grey and worn buildings of Cairo. It’s like Cairo is living in its past glory. But do not judge the book by its cover. What’s stored inside is the most important thing. It’s a window through which a This is a chance for a visitor to step inside to enter Egypt which was 4 thousand years back to date. It gives a glimpse of Egypt which Pharaoh Narmer federated Egypt which was divided in north and south into a single state.
This is the house of many statues from Thutmose to Pharaoh Khafre and Menkaure, who were creators of two pyramids of Giza. These Pharaohs are engraved in the human posture as if greeting and welcoming tourists in their ancient world. It also houses a statue of a Nubian pharaoh who suffered a tropical disease called elephantiasis with swollen feet bloated to enormous proportions and gives severe pain. Other statues of Pharaoh Khufu built the Great Pyramid of Giza and Queen Pharoah Hatshepsut, which, according to the guide suffering “inferiority complex.”. I tried to find the meaning of it but was unsuccessful. Maybe there are smaller in size in comparison with other Pharoah statues but are no less interesting. As I had mentioned about this Lady Pharoah who ruled Egypt like a true male had told her artists to create huer statues like men which should portray her power and equality with other Egyptian kings. She didn’t stop at this point, but she was shown in the same attributes of the male Pharaohs – a beard. She even ordered to carve the figure in the form of a sphinx with her face as a model from a single block of marble. She wanted her descendants to remember her as an influential lady Pharaoh.
In signs of sculptures in Egypt, if a Pharaoh’s statue is with crossed arms on his chest, the statue represents sculpture of a dead pharaoh, if a Pharaoh with one foot forward, represents that pharaoh is getting indecisive action. And if you see the casket of the pharaoh with his name is erased, represents he is accursed by priests. All these signs are as per ancient Egyptians who refused to worship the god Amun Ra and believed in worshipping another god of the sun – Aton. This is the worst curse of the times because when there is no name soul will find no repose.
Pharoah Tutankhamun’s section:
Amongst all these chambers, I found the chamber of young Pharoah Tutankhamun most fascinating. Perhaps his tomb was saved from tomb raiders and all his belongings which are in gold are still in possession of the Egyptian government. His death mask itself weighs 12 kilograms made in solid gold.
In his chamber found all his belongings, right from his walking sticks, toys, the boat is displayed. It’s just because when he passed away he was just 19 years old. The displayed items from his tomb are just a few of the 50,000 objects discovered from his tomb from the Valley of Kings. Surprisingly, his tomb was safe from grave thieves when discovered in 1922. This discovery was known as one of the earliest media scoops during those days. One scholar mentioned, “In 1922 what we discovered was of magnificence vision of Pharaoh’s era which taught a whole new history to every child all over the world.”
The part reason for his tomb was intact and safe because of the curse attached to his tomb. There are strong beliefs of this curse as the researcher who unearthed his tomb, died because of a mysterious fever caused by a mosquito bite, so as deaths of a series of people who were connected with this discovery.
When I was there in 2017, the expansion of the museum had already started. The need for a bigger and better-displayed facility was felt when the Egyptian government started retrieving all the artifacts discovered in various excavations in Egypt which were stolen or gifted to many other countries. In the museum’s warehouse, there were enough artifacts that required almost 3 times space than the current museum. According to the latest news, the new museum will be open in 2021 in a much more glorious way than the current one. This will be based near the Giza Pyramids as there wasn’t enough space in Cairo’s cramped cityscape. So advice to all travelers who are interested in history should keep at least 3/4 days for the Cairo museum till the time you don’t dream of being a royalty yourself.
(Based on personal experience of the 2017 trip. The situation might change next year once the revived bigger museum opens up)
Most tourist buses get to the museum at around 10 am. To avoid the crowds, you can reach earlier, or later in the afternoon. From 2021, what I can forsee is, you can keep sightseeing of Pyramid and one half day of museum on a single day as the new museum is very closeby. Also you can keep more days as per your wish as the amount of things to see is mind boggling. So I recommend keeping at least 2/3 days to go through the museum thoroughly, if you have a deep interest in Egyptian history, maybe exploring every important section per session.
You can give a miss to the eastern wing of the ground floor, mostly devoted to the Late Period. This is badly labeled. Also not so interesting compare to Ancient Egypt, but do not miss the Graeco-Roman art in Room 34 (I think, as per my notes). What you should skip is the western outer galleries of sarcophagi on the first floor and the astern inner galleries for the same reasons. You can check out Room 14 on the Western side.
Must see and not to be missed at all:
First floor’s Room 14 which is rather shabbily presented, but has a mind-blowing collection of Graeco-Roman mummies with beautifully painted face masks.
What heard lastly was, now you get official permission to carry a camera and click photographs, including a mummy. Though I could click some pics myself with some adjustments.
This ends my Egypt explorations experience. If I get a chance again, would love to visit this country again with lot of time hand to visit those corners and new escalations which researchers are unearthing every year.
I will be back next weekend with an experience of a new journey, a place explored by few.
To see my journey in a pictorial way:
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