A centerpiece of Tahrir Square, the Egyptian Museum (Museum of Egyptian Antiquities) has been a mecca for Egyptologists since it opened and houses some of the world’s greatest ancient relics. While some collections are moving to the new Grand Egyptian Museum, it remains a must-see for anyone interested in ancient Egypt.
There is a charge to enter the Egyptian Museum, with an additional charge to bring a camera and a substantial charge to view the mummified corpses of ancient pharaohs in Royal Mummies Hall. While you don’t need a guide or a tour to appreciate the museum, it is crammed full to bursting with historical wonders but generally poorly signed, so many will appreciate the navigational expertise of a guide.
The Egyptian Museum is an essential stop on Cairo history tours and Cairo day tours. Some tours pair it with the Giza Pyramids outside the city; others feature it alongside highlights of Islamic Cairo or Coptic Cairo such as the Hanging Church and Alabaster Mosque. History buffs will find private Egyptian Museum tours the best way to make the most of the spectacular collection, particularly while it is in flux pending the Grand Egyptian Museum move.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- The Egyptian Museum is a must-do for history buffs and anyone with an interest in ancient Egypt.
- The animal mummies room is a must for families with kids—and free, unlike the royal mummies room.
- The Egyptian Museum features more than 100,000 objects crammed into over 160,000 square feet (15,000 square meters) of space. Don’t expect to see it all in one day.
- Only the first floor of the Egyptian Museum is accessible to wheelchair users, who are entitled to discount tickets.
The Egyptian Museum stands at the heart of downtown Cairo, on Tahrir Square—that’s around 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the Giza Pyramids and around 4 miles (6 kilometers) from Old Cairo. Many will find the convenience of an organized tour with door-to-door round-trip transfers preferable to haggling with taxi drivers or trying to piece together the city’s bewildering network of microbuses.
When to Get There
The Egyptian Museum is open seven days a week: morning to evening Monday to Wednesday, morning to late on Sunday and Thursday, and morning to afternoon on the Islamic weekend, Friday and Saturday. There are additional charges for evening admission, while Fridays and Saturdays can be crowded. Visiting in the morning is recommended to beat the crowds.The Story of the Egyptian Museum
While much ancient Egyptian heritage has found its way overseas, into collections at the Louvre, the British Museum, and beyond, Egypt banned the export of antiquities as far back as 1835. The Egyptian Museum itself was founded in 1902, when the building was a masterpiece of contemporary museum design, to house the collection of French archaeologist Auguste Mariette.