The Egyptian Museum – “photograph everything”.

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is simply wonderful! The below pic shows the (entrance to the) current building, but the museum’s in the process of moving to a new, larger complex. Some of the exhibits have already been transferred, but plenty remain – certainly more than enough to fill half-a-day at least…

How long is needed for a full inspection of all the exhibits? I’m not really sure. And a lot would depend on how much detail your guide goes into regarding them all. If plenty – you’d need days here. We didn’t have days, so this was going to be an intensive excursion…

The second floor needs checking out too ->

The artifacts vary considerably in size and form/type and period: from pint-sized to considerably sizable statues, and from the most ancient of Ancient Egyptian to Hellenic and Ancient Roman, respectively ->

Khafre, a pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, who reigned for approximately 26 years around 2570BC:

Our guide mentioned how the statue was sculpted out of some kind of super-durable mineral almost as tough as a diamond. I guess it could be so – it’s looking in good shape given it’s 4500+ years old!

Still, I was – as ever – curious about the rock used for the statue. So, given I’m no mineralogist, I turned to the good “old” (everything’s relative:) trusty internet. Woah: our guide was right (respect!) – it was indeed chiseled (how?!) out of one of the hardest rocks on the planet: anorthosite gneiss. I’d never even heard of it (Microsoft Word’s spellchecker still hasn’t!). It’s not diamond (imagine a diamond that big!), but it’s a waaaay tougher than mere granite, and waaaaaaaaaaay tougher than the sandstone the Pyramids are made of.

We move next to the mummy hall…

There are a great many of them too. Lots of coffins with embalmed corpses in… This got me thinking: are we sure we’re ok with the idea of these ancient caskets being dug up, taken from their sacred burial site, and transported to a museum for folks to gawp at? I’m not so sure. What do you think folks?!…

Now, excavating ancient ruins, searching for pottery and other such artefacts – maybe even a genuine masterpiece of some sort – that, I do believe, is a worthy, wholesome thing to do: the study of ancient history, digging up relics, building hypotheses and models of the evolution of the ancient world. It’s a wholly captivating undertaking too. I myself once worked as an archeologist for a day-and-a-half at the archeological digs at Akrotiri on Santorini (Greece) – and I even found a 5000 year-old statue there!

But to dig up graves – intended, 4500 years ago, to be sacredly sacrosanct just as much as today – and to extract therefrom human remains after they’ve lain there undisturbed for millennia in a peaceful afterlife, that’s something else, surely. I’d say it shows a gross lack of respect for folks from the distant past – or simply the dead, period. Dig, find, study, take photographs, make copies, analyze DNA – fine. But put it all back afterward exactly as it was. I reckon that’s way more proper and decent.

Apologies for this outburst folks, but seeing scores and scores of mummy cases, it simply wound me up. I mean – would you be ok with knowing that in a several thousand years your mortal remains would be on show for all to see in a museum? Wait… just writing that – I see that one common answer will be, “well why not? Not as if I’d notice or care!”. Yes, maybe. But what about for religious folks? Aaaaanyway. I just don’t like it. There!

…Accordingly, we pass the human-mummy cases swiftly, and head to the next hall. Oh no – more mummies! But at least they’re of mummified animals (btw: the animals are case-less; the humans – they’re all (the ones I quickly glanced at, anyway) still in their cases. Maybe there is a degree of respect for the human dead after all?).

Mummified dogs and monkeys – Ancient Egypt’s elite’s favorites ->

Also gigantic fish and crocodiles:

From here on we fairly raced through the rest of the museum, since we were short on time…

Ancient… flip-flops! ->

More inventory for the beach: sun-lounger (just kidding) !->

And more mummies (grrr) ->

Thankfully we were there on the last day of October ) ->

And that’s all from the Egyptian Museum folks. It was time for us to fly down to Luxor!…

The rest of the photos from Egypt are here.

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