Monday, February 16, 2009

Museum of Egyptian Antiquities

The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museums, in Cairo, Egypt, is home to the most extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities in the world. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display, the remainder in storerooms. Coordinates: 30°2′52″N 31°14′0″E

The museum's Royal Mummy Room, containing 27 royal mummies from pharaonic times, was closed on the orders of President Anwar Sadat in 1981. It was reopened, with a slightly curtailed display of New Kingdom kings and queens in 1985.

The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities contains many important pieces of history. Not only does it house the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities, it also houses the many treasures of King Tutankhamen, and many interesting statues that moved with the museums many relocations. The Egyptian government established the museum, built in 1835 near the Azbakian Gardens. The museum soon moved to Boulaq in 1858 because the original building was too small to hold all of the artifacts. In 1855, shortly after the artifacts were moved, Duke Maximilian of Austria was given all of the artifacts. He hired a French architect to design and construct a new museum for the antiquities. The new building was to be constructed on the bank of the Nile River in Boulaq. In 1878, after the museum was completed for some time, it suffered irreversible damage; a flood of the Nile River caused the antiquities to be relocated to another museum, in Giza. The artifacts remained there until 1902 when they were moved, for the last time to the current museum in Tahrir Square.This museum is home to hundreds of ancient artifacts that gives us a look at the wonderful mysteries on how Ancient Egyptians lived life along the Great Nile River. This is also a very famous museum that attracts the attention of many tourists around the world.

There are two main floors of the museum, the ground floor and the first floor. On the ground floor visitors will find an extensive collection of papyrus and coins used in the Ancient world. The numerous pieces of papyrus are generally small fragments, due to their decay over the past two millennia. Several languages are found on these pieces, including Greek, Latin, Arabic, and the Ancient Egyptian writing language of hieroglyphs. The coins found on this floor are made of many different elements, including gold, silver, and bronze. The coins are not only Egyptian, but also Greek, Roman, and Islamic, which has helped historians research the history of Ancient Egyptian trade. Also on the ground floor are artifacts from the New Kingdom, the time period between 1550 and 1070 BC. These artifacts are generally larger than items created in earlier centuries. Those items include statues, tables, and coffins. If visitors follow these displays in chronological order they will end up on the first floor, which contains artifacts from the final two dynasties of Ancient Egypt. Some artifacts in this area include items from the tombs of the Pharaohs Tuhtmosis III, Tuhtmosis IV, Amenophis II, Hatshepsut, and Maherpen, and also many artifacts taken from the legendary Valley of the Kings.

The majority of the world has come to know the tomb of King Tutankhamun better than any royal tombs because unlike the others, it was found mostly intact. Inside the tomb you will find a large collection of artifacts used throughout the King’s life. These artifacts range from a decorated chest, which was most likely used as a closet or suitcase, to ivory and gold bracelets, necklaces, and other decorative jewelry, to alabaster vases and flasks. The tomb is also home to many weapons and instruments used by the King. Although the tomb holds over 3,500 artifacts, it should be noted that this tomb was not found completely intact. In fact, there have been at least two robberies of the tomb, perhaps soon after Tutankhamun's burial. The most well known artifact in King Tutankhamun’s tomb is the famous Gold Mask, which rests over the bandages that wrap around the King’s face. The mask weighs in at 24.5 pounds of solid gold, and is believed to represent what the King’s face really looked like. Many features of the mask the eyes, nose, lips and chin are all represented very well.

The remains of many famous Pharaohs are stored in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. One of these is Pharaoh Ramses III, who was an extremely skilled warrior. His army was very impressive, as it has been duplicated and copied all over the world. For many of the mummified pharaohs, it has been very difficult to determine when they were born. Also, historians can only estimate a time when they reigned over Egypt. For Amenhotep IV, historians have estimated that he reigned around 1372 B.C. They knew this because they found out when Amenhotep IV's father, Amenhotep III died. Also, that Amenhotep IV's tomb inscribed five names he gave himself and one of them, Golden Horus, proves that he was crowned on the bank of the Nile, his father's favorite domain. Before he even became pharaoh, however, he was already married to Nefertiti, a radiant beauty. But, when Amenhotep IV did become pharaoh, he destroyed the religion of Amun. He did this because he wanted start his own new religion of Aten, the disc which sent out rays ending in hands. King Snofru was believed to be the first king of the Fourth Dynasty. The year Snofru was believed to have start reigning over Egypt was around 2620 B.C. Snofru is believed to be a fair and just king. Master of Justice or of Truth was his other choice name. Snofru, like many other kings, built many temples and structures. All of Snofru’s structures and buildings had a signature. His signature was having a statue of a woman symbolizing the foundation. The statue of the young women is presenting the sign of life and votive offerings, as well as the signs of the city and the stronghold. There are about four or five of these in each province. A lot of the pharaohs had coronation names and they all seemed to be a like. For example, Snofru, Tut, and Amenhotep all had the name "Golden Horus".

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