My guest post today is by Dannee at Museumchick, who shares the museums she enjoyed in Egypt and her tips on how to get the best out of your Egyptian museum visits.
Many travelers come to Egypt for the pyramids, but the highlight of my recent trip down the Nile was the museums. As usual, I was on a mission to find the great museums (and even the not-so-great ones). I have to live up to my new name, MuseumChick, after all.
My museum adventure started at the Cairo Museum and continued to the small but extremely interesting Khufu Boat Museum in Giza. Then traveling south along the Nile, I stopped at the Luxor Museum and finished with the Nubian Museum in Aswan.
My first stop, the Cairo Museum, is the most popular. I’ve heard so much about its highlights; the Mummy Room, King Tut’s treasures, the numerous sphinxes and the over 4000 year old seated scribes statues found in Saqqara. I couldn’t wait to get in there and take some pictures to share with my friends on my blog. Walking to the entrance I could see that the museum was large and seeing the whole collection would take the better part of a day. I paid the $12 entrance fee and then saw the sign…no pictures allowed…bummer.
Exploring the grounds, I found the sculpture garden to be a fun place to get a few shots of statues up close. And did you know that the multi-tasking Cairo Museum garden is also a graveyard? Along with many ancient statues, the gardens also serve as eternal home to François Auguste Ferdinand Mariette (1821-1881), French archaeologist, Egyptologist and the founder of the Cairo museum. Mariette’s tomb rests in a sitting area to the left of the museum. Mariette is also the author of the popular play, Aida. I completed my visit with the new Children’s Cairo Museum located in the lower levels of the main building. Here you can amuse the kids (and yourself) with lego versions of the original highlights of ancient Egypt.
A short bus ride away from Cairo and I reached the Great Pyramids of Giza and the smallest museum on my visit, the Khufu Boat Museum. Perched alongside the great Pyramid of King Khufu is the museum (which unfortunately looks more like a trailer) housing the original felucca of King Khufu. This felucca, made from Lebanese cedar wood, was thought to have traveled the Nile in 2500 BC. Discovered in 1954, it took 13 years to restore.To see this gigantic felucca you must climb the stairs to the top floor where the boat sits in sunlight streaming in from the floor to ceiling windows, which also offer a close-up view of the Great Pyramid’s bricks right next door.
This small but amazing museum can be overlooked by tourists coming to see the Pyramids, so it is relatively quiet. As amazing as the pyramids are, my highlight was seeing this felucca, that has been described by historians as the oldest, largest and best preserved vessel from antiquity.
Traveling down the Nile River, I stopped to explore the Luxor Museum in Luxor. This museum resembled a mini-version of the Cairo Museum with a collection of ancient statues and mummified pharaohs. It overlooks the Nile, so finding the museum is easy. After about an hour inside, I made it out just in time to see the sunset over the river.
To experience the Nubian culture of Egypt, I traveled further down the Nile to Aswan, which is home to the Nubian Museum. This museum does allow pictures and offers a great collection of Coptic and ancient Nubian art. The grounds are especially nice for a stroll around its botanical garden and offers a view of the pink granite quarries where the ancient Egyptians quarried stones for their statues. At this quarry across the street you can visit the unfinished obelisk.
On your next trip to Egypt don’t miss these great museums. From my experience, these are some tips you should know when visiting:
Top Tips for Visiting Egypt’s Museums
1. Bring your international student ID (one with a picture) to receive discount admission to most museums.
2. Most museums do not allow pictures. The Cairo Museum will ask you to check your camera.
3. Museums do not accept credit cards. Bring cash and small bills.
4. Expect to pay $20 extra for a ticket to the the mummies’ room at the Cairo Museum.
5. A tour guide is helpful to navigate the Cairo Museum but is not needed in other museums
Thanks to my guest writer Dannee at Museumchick where you can find her stories about museums, art and other cultural events aound the world.
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