(Half) a Day at The Egyptian Museum in Cairo | Egypt


Museums, like what candy stores are for kids, are a haven for my never-ending curiosities. Whenever I travel to a new country or city, I always look forward to visiting one. Imagine my astonishment when I finally stepped foot inside a museum in a country whose ancient civilization made substantial contributions to world history, literature, writing, religion, art, architecture, science, and so on.

Marky Ramone Go
Me in front of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

When one mentions the word "archaeology," one is easily reminded of Egypt. It’s no wonder the classic film Indiana Jones takes place in many cities in Egypt in pursuit of priceless antiquities. Despite the countless ancient sites and relics discovered in Egypt, it is widely believed that they only represent a meager one percent, with the remaining 99% yet to be excavated.

Ria de Borja
The museum covers an area of 13,600 sq. meters and over 100 exhibition rooms

Fortunately, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which was built in 1902, holds the world's biggest collection of Egyptian antiquities. Over 170,000 objects are kept under its dome roof, with a representative amount on exhibit.

Althea Ifurung
Inside are the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities in the world

The Egyptian Museum, the Middle East's oldest archaeological museum, houses the world's greatest collection of Pharaonic antiquities covering the Pre-Dynastic Period (5500 BC) to the Greco-Roman Period (364 AD).

“Like a Bun in the Oven”

Where are you going in Egypt?” asks the border security personnel. “Saint Catherine and then Cairo”, I replied. “Oh Cairo, too hot there now. You’re like a bun in the oven”, the bearded officer tells me.

Michelle Lim
The statue of Rahotep and his wife Nofret. 

Well, it’s the great Sinai Desert we’re heading to”, I thought to myself. I might as well embrace the extreme weather for the experience. Bun in the oven or not, my mind was firmly focused that time on climbing Mount Sinai and seeing the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Armi Valdez
Statues of a Pharaoh, Ka-Aper and a Ptolemaic King

After spending a couple of days in Saint Catherine we crossed the Suez Canal heading towards Cairo tiptoeing in the border of the African continent and finally, within a Google Map pin drop of the Pyramids.

Kazane Windy
Hieroglyphs on Papyrus

But before we visited one of the world’s greatest wonders to which Napoleon famously pointed out to his troops "Forward! Remember that from these monuments yonder 40 centuries look down upon you", we set out on a bit of a city tour that included a fancy dinner aboard a boat cruising down the River Nile.

Oh, plus a visit to the Egyptian Museum.

A House that Unveils the Mysteries of Ancient Egypt

Located on the northern side of the also historic Tahrir Square, which was the setting for numerous demonstrations preceding the Arab Spring, lies the Egyptian Museum. Designed by the French architect Marcel Dourgnon, the enormous dome-shaped structure has a distinctive pinkish hue. Within, you will find the shimmering artifacts of ancient Egyptian society's nobility, including the golden funeral mask of Tutankhamun and other famous pharaohs, as well as tombs, merchandises, mummies, jewelries, cookware, and a myriad of personal effects.

Marky Ramone Go
Museum crowd, our guide and myself

Seconds from entering my gaze immediately darted from one artifact to another. Our guide tells us, “You can spend a whole day here or maybe two and still, you would not cover everything”.

Aika Robredo
Other interesting museum displays. Their numbered in thousands

He isn’t exaggerating. If someone ask for a volunteer to relive the plot of the movie “Night at the Museum”, I’d gladly raise my hand. Since we only have three to four hours tops inside, I made sure to listen to our guide and absorb as much information as I could.

Ayi Del Rosario
Goosebumps at the sight of these mummies.

As we made our way around the museum, I couldn't help but be amazed by the sheer magnitude of the collection. Imagine trying to grasp the entirety of Egypt's past—a thousand years and counting—all within arm’s reach.

Karen Toyoshima
An example of the many detailed Hieroglyphs unearthed in countless archaeological digs

Apart from the golden burial mask, I was entirely captivated by the many masterpieces housed inside the museum. Trying to recall the ones on top of my head are the ancient papyrus that contained the Book of the Dead for the Priest of Bastet and Djoser, the diminutive statue of Cheops (Khufu), the great Pyramid builder, the statues of numerous pharaohs, especially the one of Ramses, the intriguing engraved images on limestone relief, one particular display that is a sarcophagus shaped like a mummy, and, of course, the numerous mummies displayed in a glass case.

Statuette of Khufu (Cheops)

If only we have more time”, I thought to myself as we exited the museum. As I begin to psych myself up and calm my nerves as the thought of where we’re heading next, the Great Pyramids of Giza, I took one last look at the facade of the Egyptian Museum. The building itself is an interesting fusion of Italian Renaissance, Greco-Roman elements, and 19th-century French Beaux-Arts. Muttering wishful thoughts to myself, I make a pledge of going back Egypt for a longer time, and hopefully, I become more of an Indiana Jones than an average tourist.