The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities is considered to be one of the oldest, most famous, and largest museums in the world. The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities has a long history that dates back to the year 1825 when Mohamed Ali Pasha, the ruler of Egypt at the time, issued a decree to establish a museum for the antiquities of Egypt and the first location of the museum was in front of the Azabakeya Lake, between the squares of Opera and Atabba today.
The Ruler of Egypt at this period didn’t really realize the real value of the antiquities and ancient historical finds of Egypt and they started giving them to the European tourists who visited Egypt at this period of time in the middle of the 19th century.
At the end, the rest of the antiquities that were kept near the Azabakeya Lake were taken to an abandoned room in the citadel. When the Austrian Archduke, Maximilian, visited the citadel and was fond of the belongings of this room.
This was because Khedive Abbas, the ruler of Egypt at the time, gave the Archduke all the items that were kept in the room. Afterwards, Maximilian took theses antiqutieis with him to Austria and they are still there until today.
After a number of attempts and a lot of efforts that were exerted by the great Egyptologist, Auguste Mariette, the recent Egyptian Museum of Antiquities that is located in the famous Tahrir Square was opened for public in the 15th of November of the year 1902.
About the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities
Situated in front of the main entrance of the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, there is a small artificial lake that has some of the lotus and the papyrus plants, the most important plants for the ancient Egyptians.
The papyrus is that green long plant that was used by the ancient Egyptians to produce papers. Moreover, the words “paper” in English and the word “Papier” in French are both derived from the word Papyrus.
The sections of the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities
The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities located in the Tahrir Square in Cairo is considered to be the largest museum in the whole world. With so many exhibits put on display in the Egyptian museum, and even double the number of exhibits kept in storage rooms, the guests would take days to view everything in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities.
The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities consists o two floors; the ground floor that hosts the heavier displays like coffins, huge statues, and stone carvings.
The displays of this floor were organized according to the historical periods which are the Old Kingdom, the Intermediate Period, the New Kingdom, the Late Period, the Greco Roman Period, and the antiquities of the Nubia.
The upper floor of the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities hosts the lighter displays that include gadgets and tools, funerary objects, smaller statues, papyrus papers, wooden coffins, jewelry, and most importantly, the displays of the Tut Ankh Amun tomb.
The Narmer Plate
Among the most important displays that the guests of the Egyptian Museum should view during their visit is the Narmer Plate or the Plate of the King Menes.
The Narmer Plate is a large plate made out stone and it is the only remaining evidence that King Narmer or Menes was able to unify the two regions of Egypt, Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt in one unified kingdom, beginning the dynastic era of the Egyptian history.
The name of the King Menes is inscribed at the two sides of the plate. The King Menes is portrayed on one side of the plate wearing the long white crown and he is about to beat a war prisoner with his hands
On the other side of the Narmer Plate, the king is portrayed wearing the two crowns and walking with his followers to supervise the process of prosecuting the war prisoner.
The Displays of the Old Kingdom
The displays of the Old Kingdom in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities are located to the left hand side of the entrance door and they are among the most remarkable among the whole displays of the museum.
The Old Kingdom, or the Pyramids builders’ period, is a section of the ancient Egyptian history that starts with King Menes. The most important achievements of this period is the Pyramids of Giza, the step Pyramid of Saqqara, the Pyramids of Dahshur, and the Pyramids of Abu Sir.
The first capital of a unified Egypt was founded by King Menes in the 32nd century BC and it was called Memphis, located nowadays to the South of Giza. The most important Egyptian kings that ruled over the country from Memphis are King Menes or Narmer of course, King Zoser, King Senefru, King Chespos, and King Khafre.
There is a wonderful statue of King Khafre made out of alabaster and it is put on display in the second hall of the ground floor of the museum. There are also four heads of some of the relatives of the king and they were made out of limestone.
Moving forward in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, the guests will find a collection of attractive smaller statues of servants carrying out their everyday duties and responsibilities.
There is a statue of a woman grinding the grains and beside her there is a statue of a man getting the dough ready to produce beer. On the other side there is am man grilling a goose and beside him, there is another man holding a large bag on his shoulder.
These statues were found in some of the tombs of the Nobles who included these servants with them in their burial chambers to serve them in the afterlife as they have served them during their lives.
Afterwards, moving on with exploring the ground floor of the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, the guests will find a large collection of coffins that were made from different types of rocks and stones with its notable decorations and carvings.
There is also the walls of the funerary chamber that was reconstructed after being brought from one of the tombs of Saqqara. This piece is the best example of the magnificent art of the 6th dynasty of the Old Kingdom. The guests will view on the walls of the chamber a list of items showing what the deceased might need in the after life.
The Old Kingdom is considered to be among the most powerful periods of the ancient Egyptians. This is why the guests will find huge statues that are featured with the accuracy in its design and beauty. An example of this is the wonderful statue of king Khafre that was made out of the strong diorite stone.
Another example of the wonderful statues of the old kingdom would be the sycamore wooden made statue of the “Sheikh of the town”, one of the most important figures that date back to the ancient Egyptian and which is still practiced until today.
The Displays of the Middle Kingdom
The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities hosts ten notable statues that date back to the Middle Kingdom. The ten statues portray the king Senosert I, a king that belongs to the 12th dynasty and they are all made out of limestone.
There are also three other statues of Senosert portrayed as a the god Osiris and they were found near the El Lisht, an area near El Fayoum and the Pyramid of Meidum to the South of Cairo.
The Middle Kingdom period started in Egypt with the fall of the Old Kingdom and it was, according to historical records and researches, a relatively negative period of the ancient Egyptian history.
However, with the beginning of the rule of the 12th dynasty, the living conditions of the Egyptians were improved and the arts and industries have greatly flourished.
Another transition took place in Egypt once again with the nobles fighting among each others, and the living conditions getting worse once more, all these facts paved the way for the Hyksos to invade the country.
When the 17th dynasty came to rule over Egypt, from Thebes, they started to fight these forigen invaders until the King Ahmose was able to defeat the Hyksos and expel them out of Egypt. Ahmose founded the 18th dynasty, which is the first dynasty of the New Kingdom of Egypt.
The Displays of the New Kingdom
The 18th dynasty which is the first dynasty of the New Kingdom is considered among the greatest dynasties that ruled over Egypt and the most important rulers of this period are Queen Hatshepsut, King Amenhotep, Ikhnaton, and King Tut Ankh Amun.
There are so many displays in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities that date back to the New Kingdom. Among these there are several statues of the Goddess Hathour and the god Amun, the most famous god of ancient Egypt.
The displays of the New Kingdom also include a large collection of mummification tools, chairs, wooden objects, crowns, and a large collection of statues of gods, kings, and queens that date back to many different periods of the New Kingdom.
There are a number of remarkable statues of Queen Hatshepsut with some of them portraying her in the shape of the sphinx while the other shows her in the disguise of a man.
There are some notable statues of King Tuthmosis III, the successor of Hatshepsut, who is one of the most skilful military leaders of ancient Egypt to the extent that he was called, the Napoleon of Egypt.
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