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The Egyptian Museum


It is no surprise to find in a great city like Cairo, one of the largest and oldest museums in the world the Egyptian Museum. Walking around the museum's halls and galleries is like a journey through the ancient history of the Pharaonic civilization of Egypt.


The Egyptian Museum is the first purpose-built museum, and it exhibits more than 150.000 pieces of ancient artifacts that date back to different Pharaonic eras in Egypt. 


Background and Architecture

The first Egyptian museum was established during the Mohammad Ali era. The museum was to preserve and protect the valuable Egyptian antiquities from being lost. Most of the discovered antiquities at that time were sent to Europe by the foreign consulates in Egypt. So, Mohammad Ali Pasha banned the exporting of Egypt antiquities. He also decided to establish a museum to house the unique collection of Egyptian antiquities and artifacts. The museum was located at Azbakeya in Downtown Cairo, and it was called the Azbakeya Museum.




Then in 1858 when the French archaeologist Mariette was appointed as the director of the newly established Egyptian Antiquities service, he succeeded to set up the first museum of the Egyptian antiquities where he transferred all his discovered antiquities.


In 1863, Khedive Ismail approved the construction of a museum of Egyptian antiquities in the city Centre, but the project was postponed, and Mariette was just granted more space in front of the house in Boulaq to expand his museum.  During the same year, the Boulaq Museum was officially inaugurated and opened to the public.   In 1878, an unusually high Nile flood caused much damage in Boulaq and many artifacts were destroyed. The Boulaq Museum was closed for renovation and repair until 1881, after which it was reopened. Mariette passed away that same year and was succeeded by Gaston Maspero as Director of the Boulaq Museum and Department of Antiquities.


In 1880, giving the increasing of the museum's collection, the collection was transferred to the Ismail Pasha Palace in Giza, which is now Giza Zoo. Upon his appointment as Director of the Museum and Department of Antiquities, the scholar Jacques de Morgan reorganized the collection in the new museum, which was then known as the Giza Museum.   


In 1897, Khedive Abbas Helmy ii laid the cornerstone of the Egyptian Museum, and it was officially open on 15 November 1902 in its current location in Tahrir Square and became one of the most famous museums in the world.


Although the museum houses a collection of artifacts dates back to the Pharaonic era, the museum was designed in the European architectural models by the French architect Marcel Dourgnon.


The museum façade is designed in the French architectural style and decorated by marble paintings of the world most famous archaeologists. The internal design of the museum's halls is influenced by the Ancient Egyptian Art style. On the sides of the wooden entrance door are two large statues of two Roman-style ladies with Pharaonic-style heads.


The Museum's location

It is situated north Tahrir Square Downtown Cairo near Sadat Metro station 


The Museum's collection

The Egyptian Museum exhibits the world's most extensive collection of Pharaonic antiquities discovered in the Middle Kingdom's Royal family cemeteries in Dahshur in 1894. Over 150,000 artifacts are narrating the ancient Egyptian civilization.



The artifacts are displayed on two main floors the ground floor and the first floor. On the ground floor, you can follow the history of Egypt from the Old Kingdom up through the Greco-Roman period.