The Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square
turned 100 recently. The gardens have been spruced up -- and a very
special exhibit of never-before-seen treasures from the building's
infamous basement is on display.
Photos and text
by Tarek Atia
The Egyptian Museum in Tahrir
Square has always been one of the first things tourists visit when they
come to town. The building is huge -- but clearly not large enough for
the tremendous amount of treasures contained within it. Inside, it looks
like you are going through
someone's storeroom -- priceless statues seem to literally be piled up
on top of each other, and in every available nook and cranny of the
has it that the museum's basement storeroom contains double the amount
of treasures that are on display. Hence, the grand plans that have been
set up to build the world's largest museum near the pyramids, to house
all these ancient treasures. The Tahrir building, meanwhile, will remain
as a showcase of some 50,000
the occasion of the museum's 100th anniversary, a special exhibit called
Egyptian Treasures has been put together. A part of the infamous
basement has been remodeled to display
these 250 never before seen pieces
of glorious artwork. And glorious they are,
as is the setting of the basement itself. Climate controlled, sleek,
with dimmed lighting and muted colors, it gives off the feeling of an
elegant, lively tomb.
statue of a woman (pictured above) is fascinating because the facial
features of the woman can be seen
on the faces of many modern Egyptians today.
statue of the god Bes (at right) is equally stunning, the expression
arresting. The exhibit is
nice because it features
pieces from the whole range of antiquity
-- from the time of the earliest pharaohs to the Greco-Romans, including
the golden cases of children's mummies from the Valley of the Mummies at
display style used by the new exhibit is a good harbinger of what all
displays of antiquities in the regular museum
and elsewhere should be like.
In fact, several of the
exhibits in the museum proper
have been renovated and are truly worthy of the treasures on display.
Tutankhamun's mask and other jewelry are superbly displayed, as is a
wonderful collection of Egyptian jewelry, items from Tanis, as well as
the new mummy room.
it's a great outing -- you can see the new never before seen stuff, as
well as refresh your memory regarding the classic treasures in the
musuem itself. Plus, the garden has been spruced up, and looks better
than it has in a long time.
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