The Nubian Museum is a showcase of the history, art and culture of Nubia and is a real treat. Established in 1997, in cooperation with Unesco, the museum is a reminder of the history and culture of the Nubians , much of which was lost when Lake Nasser flooded their land after the building of the dams. Exhibits are beautifully displayed in huge halls, where clearly written explanations take you from 4,500 BC through to the present day.
At the entrance to the main exhibition hall is a model of the Nile Valley and the main temple sites. The exhibits start with prehistoric artefacts and objects from the Kingdom of Kush and Meroe. Coptic and Islamic art displays lead to a description of the massive Unesco project to move Nubia's most important historic monuments away from the rising waters of Lake Nasser, following the building of the Aswan High Dam. Among museum highlights are 6,000-year-old painted pottery bowls and an impressive quartzite statue of a 25th-dynasty priest of Amun in Thebes with distinct Kushite (Upper Nubian) features. The stunning horse armour found in tombs from the Ballana Period (5th to 7th century BC) shows the sophistication of artisanship during this brief ascendancy.
A fascinating display traces the development of irrigation along the Nile, from the earliest attempts to control the flow of the river, right up to the building of the old Aswan Dam. A model of a Nubian house, complete with old furniture and mannequins wearing traditional silver jewellery, attempts to portray modern Nubian folk culture.
All this is housed in a well-designed modern building, loosely based on traditional Nubian architecture. In the museum garden there is a reconstructed Nubian house (which you can't enter, unfortunately) and a small 'cave' with prehistoric petroglyphs, which show giraffes and other wild animals once indigenous to the region. The site also incorporates an 11th-century Fatimid tomb, as well as a number of other tombs of sheikhs.
The museum entrance is about a 5-minute walk from the Egypt Air office on Corniche an-Nil. A guided visit takes about 2 hours.