By Farah ElAbd
Located in El-Fustat, Cairo, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization is currently the largest and most comprehensive museum in Egypt, spread over 490,000m2.
The museum partially opened in 2017 with a temporary exhibition, and fully opened to the public on April 4th 2021; a day after the historic procession of the 22 royal mummies of Kings and Queens of Ancient Egypt in the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade.
Opening Hours and Tickets
The Museum’s opening hours during Ramadan are from Saturday to Friday from 9 am to 3 pm, with the last ticket being cut at 2:30 pm. Tickets can be purchased online through the museum’s official website or at the museum in person.
The ticket price for Egyptians and Arabs is EGP 60, EGP 30 for Egyptian and Arab students, EGP 200 for visitors of other nationalities, and EGP 100 for students of other nationalities. No food or drinks are allowed inside the exhibits except a small water bottle, and smoking is prohibited throughout the museum.
The concept of the museum is to showcase the different elements of Egyptian civilization all the way from prehistoric times to the modern-day and to allow visitors to experience the richness of Egyptian heritage more easily through a seamless museum display.
The layout of the museum currently consists of the Main Hall and the Royal Mummies’ Hall. The Main Hall features the main exhibition that houses the majority of the museum’s artefacts, currently on display, and showcases Egypt’s significant discoveries throughout history, from prehistoric times to the Pharaonic era, Greco-Roman period, Coptic era, Islamic era, all the way up to modern-day Egypt.
The main attraction inside of the museum is, of course, the Royal Mummies’ Hall, which opened to visitors on World Heritage Day (April 18th), and is located right beneath the Main Hall. No photography is allowed inside the museum to safeguard the articles and artefacts from harm that may be caused by camera flashes.
The Theme and Feel of The Museum
The dimly-lit, black-coloured underground Mummies’ Hall mimics the feeling of being in a real tomb and has both stairs and ramp options for special needs access to reach the mummies.
Each mummy is in a glass case with its own temperature control to help preserve the body. There is a plaque next to each mummy that tells us a little about who they are. Some of the most notable mummies present in the museum are Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, and Ramses II.
One of the most fascinating items on display in the Main Hall is the ‘Nazlet Khater Skeleton’, a 35,000-year-old skeleton that was discovered by Belgian researchers in the 80’s in the Egyptian city of Sohag, and was held and studied in Belgium until it was retrieved in 2015 back to Egypt, to now be displayed in the museum.
What makes the museum especially enjoyable to visit is the presentation of the different objects and artefacts of Egypt’s fascinating culture and history. In the Folklore Heritage section, you can see traditional robes, shoes, and jewellery of Bedouin women such as ‘The Burgoa’ and the ‘Sinai Thawb’, and then see the ‘Key and Kiswa of Kaaba’ display nearby.
“Before this museum, you only had museums that would specialize in only one time period or in a certain part of Egyptian history such as Islamic, but what we’ve done here with all these pieces and artefacts we’ve put together is combine Egypt’s rich and diverse culture and civilization in one place,” says Shaimaa Bendary, Senior Museum Curator.
The museum plans on using the Temporary Exhibition Hall located beside the Main Hall for future temporary exhibitions; starting with an upcoming exhibition focused on textiles and fashion in Egypt.
For more, please visit the museum’s official website: https://nmec.gov.eg/