The first of its kind museum in the Middle East, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization showcases the breadth and wide diversity of Egyptian history and civilization throughout the different eras, dating back thousands of years to prehistoric and pre-dynastic times all the way up to our current modern age. The National Egyptian Museum has world-renowned collections featuring the royal mummies. These mummies are showcased in a cutting-edge interactive display utilizing modern technology that allows us to look beyond the wrappings and unveil the secrets that lay within. The special display also offers invaluable insight into the rituals, sacrificial practices and spiritual beliefs behind mummification. 

Royal Mummies Parade that Marked the Opening of the National Egyptian Museum

Transferred from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Egyptian Museum, 18 royal mummies made their way through the streets of Egypt to great fanfare. The dazzling parade that took place on April 3 in 2021 captured the imagination of the world as the made their way gracefully to their new home. Back in the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, these mummies were actually on display in quite a tiny room. The Egyptian authorities saw it fit to move them to a grander exhibit. Now, the Mummies are currently showcased in a modern exhibit that is temperature and humidity controlled. They are currently on display along with their sarcophagi and are in much better conditions for their preservation. 

The 18 mummies consists of mostly kings and four queens from ancient Egypt. Originally they were unearthed from the tomb of Deir Al Bahari, neighboring the more famous Temple of Hatshepsut. They also originate from the tomb of Amenhotep II in the Valley of the Kings.

national egyptian museum

What Makes the National Egyptian Museum so Special Compared to Others?

Not only is it one of the biggest international museums for exhibition, preservation and research in the world, it is also the first museum ever to be fully dedicated to the ancient Egyptian civilization. The exhibits here feature artifacts from all over a wealth of other museums across Egypt including the Egyptian Museum at Tahrir Square, the Museum of the Royal Jewels in Alexandria and even the Museum of Islamic Art. These valuable items were spread across all these different locations but the idea behind the National Egyptian Museum was to centralize them all in one space under one roof.

Where is the Egyptian National Museum Located?

The museum is located in the heart of Historic Cairo, in the famous city of Fustat. It is a great stop when one is visiting Old Cairo and all its historic quarters. It is very accessible by car and even public transportation given its central location in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Old Cairo. 

The Story of the Establishment of the Egyptian National Museum

The story of the Egyptian National Museum kicked off in the early 1980s, when UNESCO, as requested by the Egyptian authorities, campaigned to establish it. More than a decade later of research, they were searching for an ideal location in the heart of Historic Cairo and settled on the present location. In the early 2000s, the foundations were laid for its construction and it was decided at the time that it would be one of the biggest and most significant antique museums in the whole of Egypt, if not the world. 

Fast forward almost two decades, the American University in Cairo got the ball rolling with the donation of some 5000 antiques and artifacts, giving the Egyptian National Museum the bulk of items it currently has on display. It was in this same year in 2017, that the museum partially opened its doors, allowing visitors to sneak a peaks at a temporary exhibit called the entitled ‘Egyptian Handicrafts and Industries through the Ages’. This exhibit showcased the evolution of Egyptian handicrafts over the country’s long history, displaying everything from ceramics to textile goods. It included more than 400 artifacts gathered from a number of museums as well as massive digital screens displaying documentary films on the historic Golden Royal Mummies parade, which was the dazzling event that signified the official opening of the Egyptian National Museum.

The Building Process of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

When deciding what the design should be, the Egyptian government held an international competition for architects to send in their ideas. The winner ended up settling the current striking design we see today. Measuring in at some 24,000 square meters, the massive museum is home to more than 50,000 different artifacts and antiquities that spell out the rich history of Egyptian civilizations from prehistoric times until the modern day. 

To make things more organized for visitors, the huge collection is split up into two distinct sections by theme and chronological order. From the prehistoric era to the Greco-Roman and through the different Abrahamic religious periods up until modern day, the display truly showcases the development and sheer breadth of Egyptian history in a very logical and aesthetically pleasing manner. In terms of theme, that collection covers everything from writing, culture, religion, spiritualty and beyond. Of course the Royal Mummies room is a separate glorious display in its own right, taking up its own space and cultural significance.

national egyptian museum

What Can I find Inside the Egyptian National Museum?

The museum’s extensive collection spans the full history of Egyptian civilization, from the pre-dynastic period that proceeded the pharaohs all the way until the contemporary Era. It is not only dedicated to Ancient Egypt or the pharaohs, it is a celebration of all the different cultures, religious and ruling classes that characterize the diversity of peoples that make Egypt what it is today. If you are interested in the Middle Ages or the Coptic period, you will find a diversity of authentic items there. 

The main attraction is definitely the Royal Mummies display, featuring Seqenenra, and the most famous female pharaoh Hatshepsut amongst many other monarchs of Ancient Egypt. Some of the most awe-inspiring items can be found in the Central Hall including statues of Akhenatan, burial items, furnishings from some of Egypt’s most important mosques.