My dear travellers, how are you today? I sincerely hope you are well and ready for another new story from far away Africa. In a previous post, you had the opportunity to get to know the capital of Egypt – Cairo and the suburbs of Giza, where the only remaining world wonders of the ancient world are located – The Pyramids.
If you have not been able to read my previous post from Egypt, now is the perfect moment just to take a few minutes to enjoy the beauty of Cairo and the Pyramids as today’s post will be a continuation of my previous story from Cairo. Specifically, when I saw that according to the plan and program of visits to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, I thought it would be enough to round out with one post just to make the full story of Cairo.
Before I begin my today’s post, I would like to thank the Egyptian Tourism Authority once again for their cordial invitation. It was a great pleasure for me to get to know Egypt and to get the opportunity to bring the cradle of civilization to all my dear readers and adventurers who love to read my travel stories.
After visiting the museum, my photographer and I realized that there would be a lot more material and we decided that it might be best to dedicate a special post to this treasury. The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is located in the heart of the city close to famous hotel chains. A person from the Egyptian Tourism Authority told us that due to the crowds, we could see if there was a possibility of early entry into the museum.
When we came to the museum, I could see for myself the river of people waiting to buy tickets and enter the museum. I must admit that I was pleased to see people interested in the history of the ancient great Egyptian Kingdom.
The exhibition of the museum is divided into several epochs and from the very entrance to the museum your story through history begins with the oldest royal dynasties that ruled Egypt during their history dating back to just over 4500 years BC.
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known as the Egyptian Museum or Museum in Cairo, is home to one of the largest collections of ancient Egyptian antiquities. Under one roof you can find about 120,000 items, most of the items are on display, while a smaller part is kept in special sections of the museum, which is closed to the public. The museum building was built in 1901 by the Italian construction company Garozzo-Zaffarani according to the design of French architect Marcel Dourgnon.
This museum is one of the largest museums in Africa. It is believed that with the opening of the new Grand Egyptian Museum in 2020, the new museum will be the largest museum in the world. If I’m lucky enough, we may be reading some news about Cairo’s new museum next year at this time on Mr.M blog, wish me luck! 🙂
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo contains many important parts of the history of ancient Egypt. It houses the world’s largest collection of ancient pharaohs. The Egyptian government established a museum that was built long ago in 1835 near the Ezbekeyah Garden and later moved to the Cairo Citadel. A little later in 1855, the Egyptian government donated all the artifacts to Duke Maximilian of Austria. These objects are currently in the Museum of the Kunsthistorisches in Vienna.
When I captured this photo above, the first thing on my mind was: “Sorry Klimt, but the first Kiss was made in Egypt!”. Let’s continue with our story… The new museum was founded on Boulaq in 1858 in a former warehouse, following the founding of the new Department of Antiquities under the administration of Auguste Mariette. The building was located on the bank of the Nile River, and in 1878 suffered significant damage during the Nile flood. In 1891, all collections of objects were moved to the former royal palace, in the Giza Cairo district.
There, all the exhibits remained there until 1902, when they were last moved to the present museum in Tahrir Square, built by the Italian company Giuseppe Garozzo and Francesco Zaffrani according to the project of French architect Marcel Dourgnon.
15 years ago, the museum received the first female general director of Egyptian Museum – Wafaa El Saddik. During the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, the museum was demolished and two mummies destroyed. After repairing the damage, the workers at the museum realized that several important artifacts were damaged during the invasion of the museum. When they completed the final list of items, about 50 objects were missing. Fortunately, so far, in cooperation with the authorities, the museum has been able to locate and reclaim 25 items. The museum and certain items were restored and were set up in 2013 in an exhibition titled Damaged and Renovated.
Among the exhibited artifacts are two statues of King Tutankhamun, made of cedar wood with gilding, a statue of King Akhenaten, a statue of Ushabti belonging to Nubian kings, a mummy of a child and a small polychrome glass vase.
During this visit I learned a lot of interesting things and memorized some interesting stories that I will share with you today. For example, in the previous picture and in the picture before it, you see statues with a male character. It was women! In ancient Egypt, women who claimed to be rulers had to prove to the people that they were strong enough and able to carry out politics and govern Egypt in a wise way. The sculptures you see are related to an earlier period of the great Egyptian Empire, long before the Cleopatra we all know a lot about.
Its predecessors had to pave the way for women in politics and it was much more difficult because their sculptures initially had a male character to be respected and appreciated by the people and recognised as powerful rulers.
Do you remember the Great Cheops Pyramid from your previous post? It is the largest pyramid in Giza built for himself for the afterlife by the famous Pharaoh Khufu, who was the second pharaoh of the fourth dynasty of the old kingdom.
My guide, who helped me better understand the history of ancient Egypt, asked: “Marko, are you ready to see the largest statue of Pharaoh of Cheops ?!”. I briefly answered “yes” and nodded significantly and wondered if I would be able to make a good photo as some statues were so large that I struggled to capture them… However, we came into the room and the guide showed with a smile a statue of the great King of Khufu that can fit in a slightly larger pocket of a jacket or coat… This is for now the only and largest figure of Pharaoh of Cheops that archaeologists have been able to find. (picture above)
This statue showed that over time the position of women in the society of ancient Egypt changed. The woman has become a strong and stable pillar of the family! Here is a slim and healthy woman who, despite everything, stayed with her husband.
There are various interpretations of the male figure, perhaps the husband was ill from birth or was injured and he is smaller than the woman. If you look a little better, he has two children instead of legs, which in some way completely compensate for his lack, and with a strong wife, their life goes on without any problems. After a long period, this is the first figure where the female character is smiling and firmly holding the man with much love. Such figures have not been made before in ancient Egypt…
Family happiness was also recorded in the royal family. You can see here one Pharaoh spending time with his wife and children. Usually in royal portraits spouses are not close and showed not the slightest kind of affection and kindness. This was the first portrait of the royal family where all members in everyday life can be seen. The direction of the history of Ancient Egypt is changing and we are slowly coming to the new dynasties that ruled Egypt.
Now we come to an interesting part of the exibition of this museum. I’m sure we all remembered some details about the history of Egypt and how the Egyptians were devout had their gods and believed in the afterlife. Since then, social classes were expressed, depending on which one you belong to depend on your ability to adequately prepare for life after death.
Let’s start with the richer ones. The couple from the court who were otherwise ancestors of the famous Pharaoh Tutankhamun, more precisely Yuya was his great-grandfather, while Thuya was his great-grandmother. They lived during the period of the 18th New Kingdom dynasty. At the Egyptian Museum in Cairo you can see their remains, as well as the remains of other pharaohs whose tombs were found in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.
Until the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, Yuya’s and Thuya’s tomb was one of the most spectacular ever found in the Valley of the Kings, despite Iuia not even being a Pharaoh. Although the burial place was looted in ancient times, many items that were not considered worthy of looting by the robbers remained. Both mummies are largely intact and were in amazing and preserved condition. Their faces have been particularly distorted by the process of mummification and provide remarkable insight into the real and natural appearance of the deceased while alive.
Yuya and his wife were buried in the Valley of the Kings, where James Kuibell discovered their tomb in 1905. Although robbers broke into the tomb, perhaps upset because Kuibell had already found most of the funeral equipment and two mummies that were virtually untouched. As Egyptologist Cyril Aldred noted: Although the tomb was ruptured in ancient times, the funeral repository was largely intact, there was no doubt about the identity of the pair found among the cut canvases inside their tombs.
As they were a couple who lived in the court and the ancestors of the famous Tutankhamun, they are the best example of what the preparation of the wealthier social class in Egypt looked like. Due to administrative problems and the large crowds in the museum, it was necessary to vacate the room in order to make the photos of Tutankhamun’s treasures, but because of the large number of visitors it was not possible at that moment with all the goodwill of the Ministry of Antiquities and the Ministry of Tourism of which I was a guest. and because of our plan and program, I was unable to return before the museum closed and failed to make the photos.
The problem is that otherwise Tutankhamun’s treasure should not be photographed, except for special media delegations when the room is vacated because of the value of the items, it is not possible to make photos in groups, but solely individually and under supervision.
A statue that was found in the Tutankhamun tomb that was a form of protection for the tomb itself. Just over 5,000 items were found in the tomb, including a solid gold casket, an obituary face mask weighing about 11 pounds, thrones, archery bows, trumpets, a lotus chalice, food, wine, sandals and linen linen.
Recent analysis shows that the dagger found in the tomb had an iron blade made of meteorite. The study of artifacts of the time, including other artifacts from Tutankhamun’s tomb, could provide valuable information on metalworking technology throughout the Mediterranean at that time.
The history of ancient Egypt was turbulent and was marked by many personalities who made their stories to keep the stories of Egypt alive and to be the works that the world will forever talk about. They were advanced in their time, they had faith and their beliefs that led them to the goal.
Today, all these exhibits are part of history and have their own story and attract people all over the world to come to Cairo. The “star of the day” was the God of the underworld and the mummification of Anubis. It was hard to come by, you can see for yourself how many people were waiting just to be able to make photo of Anubis. I’m also sure you may have remembered that all the people who were mummifying wore the Anubis mask on their face during the process.
In the picture above you can see what a mummy of a young female person looked like during the Roman Empire time in Egypt. New details are present and pictures of the deceased are inserted. The mummification technique and the making of the casket have changed significantly. It is believed that this young woman was from a wealthy family by the way the coffin was made.
An example of a New Kingdom death mask in Egypt. It is made for a young male person.
My dear adventurers, once again we have come to the end of our special post from series of post from my Egyptian adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Egyptian Tourism Authority for this incredible adventure and Conrad Cairo Hotel and Marriott Mena House Hotel for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.
I also would like to say huge thank you to employees of the Egyptian Museum and my wonderful guide who did his best to make story about Egyptian history more closer to my readers.
How do you like this story about Egypt? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Cairo and Giza and to enjoy in the beauty of the incredible pyramids? I would like to share with me your experience! See you soon on some other interesting destination!
If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.