The Egyptian Museum is the oldest archaeological museum in Egypt and the Middle East area. It exhibits an extensive collection passing from the Predynastic Period to the Greco-Roman period. In addition, this repository houses the most comprehensive collection of Pharaonic antiquities in the world. This fantastic collection traces 5,000 years of Egyptian history.
Location of the Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum locates at Tahrir Square in Downtown, Cairo – Egypt.
History of the Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities contains many important pieces of ancient Egyptian history. It houses the world’s most extensive collection of Pharaonic antiquities. The Egyptian government established the museum built in 1835 near the Ezbekieh Garden and later moved to the Cairo Citadel. Later, in 1855, the Egyptian government gave Archduke Maximilian of Austria several artefacts. All these artefacts are now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
Following the new Antiquities Department establishment, Auguste Mariette – the first director, ordered erecting a new museum in 1858. Previously, Antiquities Department used that place as a former warehouse at Boulaq. This building lay on the bank of the Nile River. Therefore, in 1878, it suffered significant damage from a flood of the Nile River. Thus, in 1891, the Antiquities Department decided to move the collections to a safe place. This place was a former royal palace in the Giza district of Cairo. These collections remained there until 1902. By that period, the Egyptian government transferred it, for the last time, to the current museum in Tahrir Square. As we previously mentioned, the Italian company of Giuseppe Garozzo and Francesco Zafrani developed this building. At the same time, the French architect Marcel Dourgnon designed it.
The Architecture of the Building
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities houses an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. This museum has 120,000 pieces with a representative amount on display while the remainder is in storerooms. There was an international competition in 1895 to choose the architecture of the building. Uniquely, this competition was the first of its kind. The French engineer Marcel Dorgonon came to be the winner of it. Later, in 1901, the Italian construction company Garozzo Zaffarani built the Egyptian Museum for a French architect Marcel Dourgnon’s design.
Opening of Cairo Museum
Khedive Abbas Helmy II inaugurated the museum in 1902. Since that time, it has become a historical landmark and home to some of the world’s finest antiques. This large building appears as one of the largest museums in the region. As of March 2019, the museum is open to the public. Finally, in 2021 the Egyptian government decided to supersede it with a new Grand Museum at Giza.