details of egyptian museums

A Day at the Museum - Antiquities of all sorts are getting new and refurbished homes
By May Kaddah

In some ways, Egypt is like a living museum, what with the still-very-active historic districts and new archeaology discoveries being reported every month. In an effort to keep up with history, the Supreme Council of Antiquties and other government offices have been renovating and building new museums across the country.

National Police Museum

Artifacts in the police museum, located in the Citadel, have been restored and are once again ready for viewing. Besides displaying odd fingerprints, the museum also tells the story of some of Egypt’s most notorious and beloved historical figures. The most famous of the infamous are Raya and Sekina, the female serial killers of Alexandria who killed 24 women for their gold jewelry, burying their victims beneath the killers’ house. The two women were hanged in 1922.

The museum also honors the police role in the struggle of the police against the British, with a maquette of the battle of Ismailia, in which 50 Egyptian policemen were killed. There is also a room dedicated to the national hero Adham el Sharkawy, who blew up a train carrying weapons to the British army. You can also see police uniforms and weapons dating from the Fatimid, Ayyubid, Mamluk and Ottoman periods. The museum even shows the cell where Sadat was imprisoned before he became president. Later on, Sadat imprisoned Sheikh Kishk, one of the most outspoken sheikhs of his time, in this same cell. Tel: +2 (02) 2512-2549 Open daily 9am–4:30pm.

The Imhotep Museum

Located in Saqqara, this museum honors dedicated to Imhotep, the famed architect of Djoser’s Step Pyramid and the first to have used stone in pyramid construction. He was also an astronomer and doctor. Inaugurated in 2006, this museum contains statues, pottery and mummies mostly dating to the third dynasty. Tel: +2 (02) 3818-3095 Open daily 8am-4pm.

The Coptic Museum

Reopened in 2006, this museum in Old Cairo houses an impressive collection of icons, manuscripts, textiles and monastic art and sculpture from the nation’s 600-year Christian era. Among the most important items is an icon showing the holy family fleeing to Egypt and scrolls from Naga Hamadi dating to the second or third century. The collection is displayed in nineteenth-century villa that is a work of art in itself. Tel: +2 (02) 2362-8766 Open daily from 9am-5pm.

Gayer Anderson Museum

Adjacent to the mosque of Ibn Tulun in Cairo’s Sayyeda Zeinab district, this museum is also known as Beyt el Kretliya (the House of the Cretan Woman). It actually comprises two houses, both fine examples of Islamic architecture from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, complete with a sabil, or drinking fountain, a well (called Bir al watawit) and many well-furnished rooms overflowing with the eclectic collection of British Major R.G. Gayer-Anderson. Not only is the house itself interesting, but almost every part of it holds a supernatural story or a legend of people who lived in it before. Tel: +2 (02) 2364-7822 Open daily 9am-5pm.

Luxor Museum

Here are some of the best exhibitions of Egyptian carving, the pieces nicely displayed and well lit. A wing called ‘The Glory of the Empire,’ celebrates military conquests during the New Kingdom; here two noted Pharaohs — Ramses I and Ahmose I — lie in state. The wing also houses a Pharaonic war chariot. Corniche El-Nil, Luxor Tel: +2 (095) 237-0569 Open daily 9am-5pm.

Coming soon

According to officials at the Supreme Council of Antiquities and at the museums themselves, 2008 will see a number of openings. While many of the museums have already posted phone numbers and work hours, specific inauguration dates were not available, as these events are typical dependent on presidential or ministerial schedules. Among the new additions:

The Rosetta Museum

This museum is located in the Ottoman-era house of Hussein Arab Killy, the governor of Rosetta during the latter part of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. It contains a collection of arms, such as guns, swords and rifles, dating to the Ottoman period. It also contains two important documents: the first outlining the withdrawal of the English from Egypt and the second registering the famous marriage of General Minou, who converted to Islam and married Zebayda, a woman from a wealthy Rosetta family. Their story is often told in Egyptian folklore. It also contains a cast of the Rosetta Stone given to the Egyptians by the British Museum in London. Rosetta, Behira. Tel: +2 (045) 2921-733 Open 9am-4pm.

El Arish Museum

As El Arish was the Western gate of Egypt, the museum is designed to take visitors into the world of the Sinai. It celebrates the military history of Ancient Egypt, in particular campaigns from Qantara to Rafah. The museum opened in March as part of the Sinai Liberation celebrations. Tel: +2 (068) 332-9344/5 Open 9am-4pm in winter, until 5pm in summer.

Crocodile Museum (Kom Ombo)

This museum is co-located with the temple of Kom Ombo, about 50 kilometers north of Aswan. Once the center of the cult of the crocodile-headed god Sobek, Kom Ombo has an unusual Ptolemaic-era double temple dedicated both Sobek and the hawk-headed Horus the Elder. et

Must See Museums

Abdin Palace Museum: Behind Abdin Palace, Qasr Abdin Square, Downtown. Home of the former Egyptian Royal Family. Tel: +2 (02) 2391-0042, 9:30am–2:30pm, closed Fridays.

Agricultural Museum: Next to the Ministry of Agriculture in Dokki. Tel: +2 (02) 3337-2933. 8:30am–2:30pm, closed Mondays.

Entomological Museum: 14 Ramses St., near the Cairo Railway Station Tel: +2 (02) 2576-6683. 10am–2pm daily and 5–8pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, closed Thursdays and Fridays.

The Egyptian Antiquities Museum: Mariette Pasha St., beside the Nile Hilton Hotel. Tel: +2 (02) 2575-4319. 9am–6:30pm.

Mahmoud Khalil Museum: 1 Kafour St., Giza, next to State Council (Maglis El-Dawla). Tel: +2 (02) 3338-9860. Bring your passport. 10am–5pm, closed Mondays.

Mohamed Nagui Museum: 9 Mahmoud el Guindi St., Hadayek el Ahram. Tel: +2 (02) 383-3484, 10am–5pm in winter and 10am-6pm in summer, closed Mondays.

Mustafa Kamel Museum: Salah El-Din Square. Tel: +2 (02) 2510-9943. 9am-6pm, closed Mondays.

Mokhtar Museum: Tahrir St., Gezirah (across from Gezirah Exhibition Grounds, just before El-Galaa Bridge). Tel: +2 (02) 2735-2519. 9am-1pm and 9-5pm. 9am-noon on Fridays, closed Mondays.

National Museum of Egyptian Modern Art: Gezirah Exhibition Grounds, Zamalek. Tel: +2 (02) 2736-6667. 10am-2pm and 5-10pm daily.

Omm Kolthoum Museum: Manisterly Palace, El-Roda. Tel: +2 (02) 363-1467. 9am-4pm, Closed Mondays.

Post Office Museum: El-Attaba Square, main Egyptian National Post Office building, second floor. Displays memorial stamps. Tel: +2 (02) 2575-4071. 9am-1pm and 2-5pm daily.

Railway Museum: Adjoining the Cairo Railway Station, Ramses Square. Tel: +2 (02) 576-3793. Collection includes Khedive Ismail’s private train. 8am-2pm and 3-5pm, closed Monday

Source: Egypt Today April 2008
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