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1. Modern Cairo

2. The National Museum

3. al-Azhar Mosque

4. Old Cairo

5. Hanging church

6. Coptic museum

7. Coptic churches

8. The synagogue

9. Fustat

10. Mosque of Amr

11. Ibn Tulun Mosque

12. Khan el-Khalili

13. The Citadel

14. Muhammad Ali Mosque

15. Sultan al-Nasir Mosque

16. Suleyman Pasha Mosque

17. The bloody museums

18. Panorama of Cairo


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The National Museum

Cairo, Egypt

Cairo, Egypt

The National Museum could be worth a holiday by itself. The museum (its official name is Museum of Egyptian Antiquities) holds some of the finest treasures of human history, and is filled far beyond the capacity of the 100 year old building.
There are as much as 136,000 items exhibited. 40,000 more lie in the basement, many are sinking into the soft ground. A great number of the items are tiny, coins or amulets, but prepare yourself for the awe of facing great statues and treasures.
The museum was founded in 1857 by Said Pasha on the initiative of the French archaeologist Auguste Mariette, who had excavated several temples, like the one in Edfu. The museum moved a couple of times before installing itself in the heart of Cairo. A new move, this time out to the Pyramids of Giza, is planned.

Cairo, Egypt

Cairo, Egypt

Cairo, Egypt

There are two approaches to the museum: First, visit it in the beginning of your journey, to get the best and most direct introduction to ancient Egypt. After your journey to temples and pyramids, return, and view it all with a clearer understanding. Secondly, read up on the choices, and try to select your interest. You will probably go sour if you try to cover it all in one visit (any of these guide books have great introductions, or you could get an even more detailed guide at the museum).
A large part of the 1st floor is dedicated to the finds in the tomb of 14th century BCE Pharaoh Tutankhamon in Luxor. The main attraction is in room 3 with the mask made of gold, lapis lazuli and other gems. Other great objects of his are the coffins and the sarcophagus. Room 15 exhibits his bed, and room 25 his wooden throne.
Room 56 holds a spooky collection of mummies. This collection was originally closed in 1981 due to religious sentiments concerning the public show of dead bodies. But it reopened in the early 1990's.
The most interesting exhibitions for many on the ground floor will be from the Amarna period. This belongs to the religious reform of Akhenaten, who tried to turn Egyptian religion into monotheistic faith, an endeavour that would prove futile. Seeing from the many representations of him, especially the 4 colossi, he is represented with an attenuated skull. Some speculations indicate that this is artistry, indicating his quality, other speculations indicate that he actually looked this way. We will never know.

The museum is open daily, from 9.00 until 16.45, except during the month of Ramadan, when it is 9.00 until 15.00.
Admission rates are ŁE20, for students (with card) ŁE10. If you want to use your camera, this will cost ŁE10, or your video camera at ŁE100. Guided tours generally costs ŁE100 for two hours.

By Tore Kjeilen