Its existence will present visitors with the moral dilemma of paying to see the original tomb or helping to preserve its future existence by visiting the facsimile version instead.
I’ve just returned from a visit to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo where I spent three hours utterly enthralled by the treasures of King Tutankhamen. I don’t think I’ve seen a more impressive collection of artefacts anywhere in the world, brilliantly brought to life by our expert guide, Akram “Aki” Allam.
The museum is cavernous, dusty, unkempt and in many places badly lit. But it’s a wonderful experience, and sufficient reason alone to visit this baffling and exciting city.
It’s also unusual in enforcing a strict ban on photography. No snaps are allowed anywhere in the museum building.
In an age when most people pack a camera in their handbag or hip pocket, this seems almost like an infringement of human rights. If I want to whip out my iPhone and quietly peel off a few snaps, why shouldn’t I? After all, it’s all good publicity for the museum, isn’t it? Sharing on Facebook and Twitter is only going to encourage more tourists.
But the Egyptians seem immune to these arguments, something for which I find myself feeling immensely grateful.I admit that when I first saw the “No photography” sign I felt mildly irritated, but once I started to view the astonishing exhibits and get sucked into the amazing story of Tutankhamen, I was relieved to be freed from the urge to take pictures.
What’s more, I didn’t have other tourists with cameras pushing in front of me for a shot, apparently feeling that holding a camera or a phone gives them carte blanche to barge others out of the way.
The treasures of the teenage Pharaoh – including his iconic death mask, pictured above – are so extraordinary that the only proper response is to stand and gaze. Which is what I did.While other tourists strolled past and made small talk, I enjoyed a long period silently staring into the eyes of King Tut, soaking up the majesty of this most intimate of art works.
It is said that in some regions of the world, people believe that cameras can steal their soul. But maybe the truth is that they are stealing ours.Just as our ability to read is being corroded by Twitter feeds and 24-hour rolling news, perhaps the constant photographing of everything around us is affecting our very ability to see.
Maybe the way to enhance our experience as tourists is to put away the cameras and open our eyes instead. And if we can’t, then perhaps more museums should ban photography all together?
After all, it’s likely that the photos on your phone will be quickly forgotten, replaced by the next batch of shiny new digital images. Memories, on the other hand, will burn themselves into your soul, and shape who you are.
* I am in Egypt as a guest of Abercrombie & Kent with a small group of travel bloggers including Jayne Gorman of 40 Before 30 and Abigail King of Inside the Travel Lab. The photos on this page were – of course – supplied by the Egypt Tourist Authority.
the source of this essay is : http://www.101holidays.co.uk
Under the auspices of The Ministry of Tourism the first edition of the International Festival for Drums and Traditional Arts was held from 19 – 25 April 2013 in Cairo.
The activities of the festival will be under the title “The dialogue of the Drums for Peace.the festival aims to arrange an international artistic activity that allows the Egyptian public recognize the different cultures of the world .
20 countries will participate in this Festival among which ( Turckey,India,Poland, Indonisia,USA,Brazil,France , Algeria, Maldives, Columbia, Ecuador, Togo, Namibia, Sudan, Greece, Germany, France, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh) .
Alexandria is the second capital of Egypt. Its strategic location, moderate cli-mate and fine sandy beaches which cover a large area from Agamy in the west to Abu Qeir in the east, makes it worthy of its earned title, “Pearl of the Mediterranean”. Alexandria has also been chosen as the capital of Arab tourism for 2010. This decision was taken during the Arab Conference for Tourism which took place in May 2009 and was based upon its historic and touristic facilities.
Alexandria’s history is rich with conquests and different dynasties that have occupied it, as well as the different nationalities that have resided there.Founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, it was a center for Hellenism with an extraordinary mix of Greeks from many cities, also it was home to the largest Jewish community in the world, the Sassanid Persians, the Byzantine Empire , the Arabs, Napoleon’s expedition in 1798, Italian nationals who also came to live in this charming city, the British, and the Ottomans.
As you walk through Alexandria’s streets, you will feel this ancient charming.
Alexandria submerged antiquities :
the prince “Omar Tusson” who was known for his passion for antiquities, and who was a member of The Royal Antiquities Association in Alexandria then, the prince carried out financing the process of searching, and in May 5, 1933, the divers went to the mentioned area to find a head made of marble for Alexander the Great, now sited in the Graeco – Roman Museum.Prince Omar Toson had noticed that the place where he found the statue of Alexander’s head represents a temple and the place in its east side represents a residential city, when he compared this discovery with the old sources, he connected these places by Minotes city. He was able to identify Heraclium (herakleion) city on the map, which he published in 1934.Then, in the sixties Kamal Abu El Saadat was the hero, he was one of the Egyptian divers , his work focused on the water under the citadel of Qait Bey and the Cape Lochias(modern El Silsila) ,In 1962 he lifted a life- size statue of a Roman man made of granite without a head and feet from silsila area.
The greatest enjoyment is to walk Alexandria. You see architecture from different eras, smell the sea, feel the salty breeze of the corniche, and browse through the Gomrukn district, dating back from the 16th century, Anfushi and Ras El Tein, dating from the era of Mohamed Ali, also known as the Turkish districts, are in the Eastern part of Alexandria where the fort is located. See the fishermen and the little fishing boats dotting the banks, hear the tinkering of metal, see a ship being built and/or restored in the docking area of Anfushi, go to the fish market and see the wonderful display of fish, while fish-mongers haggle prices. The fish market is a place you’ll want to visit for one intensive look at Alexandrian culture. Further south of Horreya Street, you will enjoy Al Attarin district, where there are a vast number of antique shops that you can spend hours rummaging through old clocks and 18th century vases and ceiling lights, as well as reproduced furniture and small knick knacks.
Downtown Alexandria by Raml Station, has another flavour, with its streets and buildings, the hustle and bustle of the pedestrians and shops, the horse drawn carriages and the famous tramway, are all sites you will enjoy while sipping a cup of tea or coffee on one of the sidewalk cafes you will find all over Alexandria. Stroll inside the Cecil Hotel (now Sofitel) that dates back to the 1930s, and where Somerset Maugham and Winston Churchill stayed, and around the corner are the Metropole and Windsor Hotels, where you feel that you’ve gone back in time to another era.The Greek Quarters east of Al Horreya Street contain won-derful old villas including the massive Miclavez building, opposite the Town Hall and nearby the Adda Complex built in 1929. Further east is the Greek Orthodox patriarch-ate and the Church of St. Saba. Azarita district is another pleasurable walk viewing the Goethe Cultural Centre’s and Alexandria Atelier Arts Centre’s beautiful buildings. And best of all, know you are walking over centuries of ruins from the sunken Roman cities and the Royal Quarters that lay underneath today’s Alexandria.
What to See
Although very little of the ancient city has survived and most sank under water due to the earthquake, yet there still stands some that tourists can visit:Pompey’s Pillar:Is the best known ancient monument still standing, located on Alexandria’s ancient acropolis. Alexandria’s Catacombs:Known as Kom Al Shoqqafa, are a short distance from the pillar and consists of a multi-level labyrinth, reached through a large spiral staircase with doz-ens of chambers adorned with sculpted pillars, statues and other syncretic Romano-Egyptian religious symbols, burial niches and a sacorphagi, as well as a large Roman-style banquet room, where meals were conducted by relatives of the deceased.
The Fort of Qaitbay:A 15th century defensive fortress located on the Mediterranean Coast, built upon and from the ruins of the Lighthouse of Alexandria (one of the seven wonders of the world). The fort also houses the
The Roman Amphitheatre and Baths:This is located in the area known as Kom Al Dikka, where there is a well-pre-served theater from the ancient city and the remains of its Roman-era baths.
The most famous and beautiful mosque in Alexandria is El Mursi Abul Abbas Mosque. It is located in the Anfoushi dis-trict near the Fort of Qaitbay, not too far from the Corniche. It was built in the 1940s. The Saint Marc College and Churchis an excellent form of architecture. The Roman Catholic School was founded in 1928 by the Lassalian Brothers and inaugurated by King Fuad I. The College is located in Al Shatby district.
The Jewish Synagogue:
Eliahu Hanabithat is still active, lies in Al Nabi Daniel Street, in the heart of downtown Alexandria. Not to be missed, is the Abu Mina Monastery which is around 50 km from Alexandria. To visit the Monastery, it is advisable to rent a car with driver or go with a travel agent. If you walk around Alexandria’s downtown, you will see all forms of denominations, Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Latin Catholic and Coptic Orthodox Churches. Each has its unique form of architecture that you will thoroughly enjoy viewing.
Note: All religious sites are free of charge
Parks and Gardens
Alexandria boasts three famous gardens that visitors should see:
Montazah Park Garden on the Mediterranean and covers an area of 370 feddans of exotic trees, palms, and flowers. The gardens belonged to the Palace of King Farouk and are open to the public with a small fee. There is also a museum, several natural bays and beaches, as well as a complete tourist centre, a 5-star hotel, restaurants and a children’s park. This is located on the far western part of Alexandria next to Sheraton Montazah El Nozha Gardens includes several gardens such as Antoniades’ Gardens:Today it contains beautifully landscaped trees and flowers, fountains, tropical greenhouses, archeological remains, including a Gnostic tomb and a cistern, as well as several marble Greek statues and the Greek Sir John Antoniadis’ palace which was built on the model of the Versaille Palace in Paris.It is located south of the Greek district, next to the Mahmudiya Canal.Also nearby is The Zoological Garden,which comprises an artificial lake, a huge tower to view the garden from above and a museum for natural history.The Shallalat Gardensis known for its manicured shrubs and trees and its high and low levels and waterways. There are also traces of the Hellenistic walls in the gardens and the only Alexandrian cistern. Located: east of Horreya Street.
The Neoclassical museum, founded in 1892, contains a vast rare collection of fascinating Greek and Roman relics and coins, and classical statues, ranging from the Third Century B.C. to the Seventh Century AD, including the “Tanagra” collection. Also, the musuem’s garden is full of spectacular statues and artifacts.
Address: Horreya Street .
The Crown Jewels Museum:
The 4,185 square meter palace located in the area of Zizinia,exhibits the family jewels of Muhammad Aly that includes 235 rare pieces of diamonds. The architecturally beautiful palace was built in 1919 and belonged to a member of the royal family. The east wing contains a bronze statue of a boy carrying a painting of a natural landscape, while the west wing’s entrance bears stained glass engraved with historical stories and scenes from love stories such as Romeo and Juliet. There are also mural drawings of the celebrations of the palace’s owner.
Constantine Cavafy was one of the prominent Greek Poets of the 20th century who lived in Alexandria. After his death, his house was rented by a Greek, who turned it into a cheap motel. Moreover, all his furniture was sold by his heirs, except his library which was saved by Prof. George Savidis. Cavafy lovers negotiated with the owner of the house and bought it. They began to reconstruct the house and it was inaugurated as a museum and officially opened for the public on 16 November 1992, recapturing the atmosphere of the house after recovering some of his antique furniture. The museum contains a wide range of bibliographical material, translations of Cavafy’s poetry in 77 languages by 40 different scholars, and about 3,000 articles and works written about his poetry.
The Alexandria National Museum :
Located in a restored Italian style palace on Al-Horreya Street (former Rue Fouad), near the center of the city. It contains about 1,800 artifacts that narrate the story of Alexandria and Egypt. Most of these pieces came from other Egyptian museums. Visitors will see Pharaonic pieces, Graeco-Roman, includ-ing archeological underwater excavations, Coptic, Islamic and Modern eras.
Alexandria Aquarium :
It was built in 1930 and exhibits many species from the Mediterranean and Red Seas, as well as some freshwater species from the Nile and the Amazon.
Alexandria Opera House:
The building displays a blend of architectural styles from the Vienna State Opera and the Odeon Theatre in Paris. Today, it is enlisted into Heritage List of the country, after it was refurbished with state-of-the-art infrastructure, suitable to its fame.The Opera House is home to the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and Alexandria Chamber Orchestra. It also hosts many local and international shows in ballet, opera and modern dance.
Alexandria Library (Bibliotheca Alexandrina):
The ancient city of Alexandria was at the beginning of the third century B.C., the birthplace of the great plan to build a library: the Bibliotheca Alexandria. A fire, which ravaged Alexandria, destroyed the library, this vast storehouse of learning. The Egyptian Government, in co-operation with UNESCO, decided to resurrect the old dream to endow this part of the world with an important focal point for culture, education and science. The new Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a highly contemporary glass and steel structure opened in 2002, and includes three museums, five specialised research institutes and an art collection that includes Hellenic statues and centuries-old manuscripts. As part of the library, a new and very important antiquities museumhas been created in order to highlight the history of Alexandria across the ages, specifically the cultural era, providing exhibits related to knowledge and the arts. It now contains rare artifacts from the Pharaonic, Greek, Roman, Coptic and Islamic eras. These artifacts are displayed in chronological order, representing the evolution of writing, the birth of scholarship and librarianship, and the ancient arts with informative displays presenting mosaic, portraits, glassware, pottery, coins, textile and much more. It is located in section B1 of the library’s ground floor of the main building. The Bibliotheca hosts many live concerts, both modern and classic, as well as international shows, almost on a daily basis.
The Underwater Museum Project:
Some of the world’s most exciting sunken treasures could soon be viewed to the public, after the Egyptian government confirmed plans to build a giant underwater museum.
Since excavations in the eastern harbor of Alexandria began in 1994, divers have unearthed thousands of historical objects, including sphinxes, parts of the Pharos Lighthouse and remnants of Queen Cleopatra’s palace complex. Now plans are underway to open up this site via an immersed fiberglass tunnel, which would enable close viewing of the underwater monuments. The designs for the museum were drawn up by the French architect Jacques Rougerie, a veteran of water-based construction projects, and has been back by the UNESCO. The two and half year construction plan is supposed to start in early 2010. The project is estimated to cost US$140 million.
Where and what to eat :
If you go to Alexandria, you have to try a seafood meal. Alexandria’s restaurants are the best to offer you all types fish, calamari, squid and shrimps right from the Mediterranean Sea onto your plate. Fried or grilled with a special batter, baked in their own secret recipes and accompanied by a large variety of salads and appetizers with freshly baked bread.Most of these restaurants have basic decor, wooden tables and chairs, a plastic checkered tablecloth and very plain dinnerware.but this is all part of the atmosphere for these types of restaurants.
Qadurah Montazaha :
This is a family restaurant suitable for large or small groups. When you enter, you choose the fish or shellfish (shrimp, calamari) and specify how you want it cooked. They are also specialized in a delicious buttery tasting seafood soup.
Abu Ashraf :
Another casual restaurant where you will enjoy great sea-food meals and also get to select your own fish. Being in the heart of Anfoushi, it also provides a flavorful scene of the daily routine of Alexandrians.
The Fish Market :
Casual dining overlooking the water. Lots of salads and fresh bread, choose your own fish. Specialty dish includes meru fish stuffed with herbs and spices and baked in the oven.
Santa Lucia :
Alexandria is also known for its great Greek and French food and one of the most famous and well recommended dining places to try is Santa Lucia. The menu contains a few selected appetizers, main dishes and desserts, and a very hard menu to select from, as all the meals are deliciously prepared and presented. Beautiful decor and atmosphere with back drop music or live piano entertainment.
Stefano’s – Italian Restaurant :
Stefano’s is the Four Seasons Hotel second fine dining restaurant, serving a selection of authentic Southern Italian cuisine including antipasti and seafood specialties. The open kitchen, chic decor and warm Italian hospitality create an intimate ambiance.
Mohamed Ahmed Restaurant :
One of the famous places for a good bean or falafel sandwich is this restaurant. It also serves local meals that Alexandria is famous for, such as the special Alexandrian liver dish and the Shakshouka (scrambled eggs with tomatoes)
The Sporting Club, located in the heart of the city, receives nonmembers who would like to play golf. The entrance fees are LE 20 on weekdays and LE 30 on Thursdays and Fridays. The fee for playing golf all day is LE 150 + LE 50
Suq District : where you will find Alexandria’s only surviving wekala. This area was where the Jewish community lived, and today you may find all manner of products, from jewellery to medicinal plants (Suq El Magharba) to Bedouin clothing (Suq El Liba).
San Stefano Mall:
Two floors of casual name brands, gift shops, leatherwear and fast food restaurants.
Alexandria City Centre: Brand names including Debenhams, New Look and Miss Selfridge, the Spanish brand Zara and others. This mall is the newest in Alexandria and is located opposite the Alexandria International Park.The exquisite Attarine antique districtwith its French-inspired and wrought iron furniture and the renowned .
Zan’et El-Sittat district: (which literally means ‘an area crowded with women’), provide just two of the city’s many opportunities to bargain for fabric, furniture and jewels and lots of real and reproduced antiques in an authentic setting. Location: El Mansheya.
Four Season’s Hotel :
The Hotel has the largest standard rooms in the city, with views of the Mediterranean (Sea View) or city. Three restau-rants, Lebanese Byblos, Italian Stefano’s and Kala open for breakfast and lunch. The hotel’s Spa offers a comprehen-sive range of treatments, sauna, steam room and whirlpool.The Beach: Opposite the hotel is a long stretched, sandy beach with lush green landscaping. It is easily accessed by an under- passage from the hotel. The Beach facilities include a kids club and open-air fitness area.
Le Metropole :
In 1902 Hotel Metropole opened their doors for first time. The hotel is located close to the railway station and in the heart of Alexandria’s business and embassies district, directly overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. This masterpiece by Italian & Greek architects makes it one of the best Heritage hotels in Egypt.
Windsor Palace Hotel :
The Windsor, built in 1906, exudes the glory and graciousness of a golden era as one of Alexandria’s “Heritage” hotels. Right on the waterfront, the hotel resides in the social and cultural hub of the city, with its street cafes, shopping bou-tiques and seaside promenades.
Sheraton Montazah :
Breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and Montazah Gardens, other than standard rooms, presidential suits, there are eight hospitality suites equipped with a kitchenette.Several restaurants and outdoor pool.
Paradise Inn Ma’amoura Beach :
Featuring a beachfront location and comfortable accommodation. Within walking distance to the Montazah Royal gardens. Beach sports and outdoor and indoor swimming pools. Address: Maamoura Beach, Alexandria West.
Sofitel Cecil Hotel :
Conveniently located in the heart of the business district, overlooking the bay and yacht club. Built in 1929, yet con-stantly in step with the times, it provides a perfect blend of modern amenities and old world charm.
New guest rooms with sea view, full business facilities, restaurants, gym and wireless Internet.
Helnan Palestine Hotel:
Overlooks the Montazah beach and gardens. Its bay is surrounded by the gardens, which were once the site of the late King Farouk’s summer place.
How to get there:
Many cruise ships arrive to the Alexandria Harbour from European countries.
Local and international flights arrive to Al Nozha Airport, located 7 km to the southeast.
From Cairo (around 220 kms), visitors can arrive to Alexandria via the Super Jet buses, private taxi or rent a car. For enquiries and reservations for the Super Jet buses, call: +20-2-2579 8181 or +20-3-543 5222 Also, if you are coming via the Port Said Harbour, there is the international coastal road (Port Said/Alexandria)
From Cairo station, you can go down at either Misr Station or Sidi Gaber Station
for further information go to :
Officially inaugurated on April 20, 2006, the Imhoteb Museum located at the foot of the Saqqara necropolis complex, near Memphis,venerates both the Ancient Egyptian architect Imhotep and the notable French Egyptology Jean Philippe Lauer.
The name Imhotep means the one who comes in peace; he was a genius architect who constructed the first stone pyramid ever in the Ancient Egyptian history- the step pyramid of Sakara plateau dating back to the third dynasty around 2700 B.C. Imhotep held diverse posts and titles, amongst which was the vizier and architect of the king, the physician, chancellor to the pharaoh, high priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis and administrator of the palace. The Greeks also considered him as the god of medicine as Aesculapius.The museum’s major theme is to display the most significant artifacts discovered on the Sakara site. Prior to the entrance on the right hand side visitors are first welcomed into a visitor’s center or the so called visual setting hall where they watch a 10-minute documentary movie on Sakara’s history called Sakara Hidden Path to Eternity presented by the National Geographic Television and Film, in cooperation with the Supreme Council of Antiquities and narrated by renowned Egyptian and international actor Omar El Sherif. Upon entering the first of six halls, visitors will encounter a remaining pedestal of King Zoser’s statue found at a small sanctuary south of the entrance colonnade of his funeral complex. The feet steps over nine bows representing foreign countries. On the base is an inscription with the names and titles of King Zoser; besides which Imhotep was granted the privilege of carving his name. To the right is the second gallery called Sakara’s Mission, showing the most recent discoveries unearthed in Sakara by various archaeological missions. Among the collection is the famous well preserved and gold cased anthropoid coffin, which was among the excavations of Dr. Zahi Hawas Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities dating back to the late period around the 30th dynasty.In addition to copper surgical instruments from a 5th -6th dynasty tomb of Qar who was a physician of the palace and keeper of the secrets of the king. Near his tomb other bronze objects were found including a statue of Imhotep that was found in a cache dating to the late kingdom, which is currently on show in another hall of the museum. In this room is a TV screen showing a short documentary film under the name of Imhotep narrated in different languages. On the right hand side next to the Sakara Mission room is the third Sakara Styles hall presenting a collection of stone vessels used for cosmetic mate -rials and ointments from the early dynastic period. Among these are a collection of clay and alabaster vessels in various shapes. More than 40,000 vases carved from hard stone were found in galleries beneath the Step Pyramid. Many of these were from the first and second dynasties and it is believed that Zoser placed them in his tomb. Moreover one could see a different collection of instruments and tools, a collection of limestone and vividly painted wooden statues. After the Sakara styles gallery the visitor will pass through another fourth hall designed mainly to exhibit remains of diverse architectural styles from Zoser’s funeral complex at the site. Items include remains of columns form the colonnade, remaining frieze of cobras brought from the facade of the southern tomb’s cult chapel for protection, a headless statue of King Zoser, a large model of the blue tiled wall of the step pyramid’s southern tomb, showing king Zoser in a ceremonial dress for his jubilee festival known as the Heb-Sed Festival. Also on show in this room is the famous bronze statue of Imhotep.A doorway from the fourth gallery leads to the fifth entitled Sakara tombs providing a general idea of a tomb’s content. On show is a wooden coffin with remains of blue colors and has religious coffin texts inscribed on its inner sides painted in black on a yellow coating. Above the coffin was found a wooden rowing boat which is now on show above the coffin. An offering table and a false door are also on display close by the coffin.
On the right hand side of the room is most probably the mummy of Merenre discovered by Gaston Maspero in 1881 dating back to the 6th dynasty around 2297-2292 B.C. The room exhibits the work of Jean Leclant and Audran Labrousse at the Pyramid Complex of Pepi I and Pepi II, including on show the viscera of King Pepi I as well as remaining preserved parts of a kilt. Back heading towards the exit we see the Lauer’s library marking the sixth and ultimate gallery. The French Archaeologist Jean Philippe Lauer devoted his life to Sakara, which has always been and remains a place of attraction with all what it has to offer visitors; he especially consecrated his efforts to the restoration of the Step Pyramid. In 1926, he was invited by the Egyptian Antiquities Service to Egypt on a mission for eight months; but ended up staying in Egypt until he died in 2001. He excelled in introducing modern restoration techniques, which served as a model for work still used by the Supreme Council of Antiquities. On display are some of his books, publications, tools, his hat, camera and compass.
Straight down El Mounib ring road from C o r n i c h e E l M a a d i , t a k e t h e Marrioteya-Sakara exit passing the Cataract Pyramids Resort Hotel on the left hand drive for approximately 22 km south west of Cairo. Upon reaching the Sakara plateau entrance, you will have to stop for a security check,after which you can purchase tickets to the Sakara plateau. Take the first right exit immediately after the ticket office to visit the museum, located right at the foot of the plateau. A separate ticket office for the museum is right nextto its entrance. Entrance fees for cost LE15 for adults and LE10 for students.Cameras are free of charge; however the use of flash is prohibited.
In the frame of Egyptian Ministry of Tourism endeavors to increase the tourism flow from the Japanese market, the Ministry of tourism hosted 15 children who had suffered from the earthquake on December 2010, in an eight days trip to Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan ( from 26 December 2012 to 2nd January 2013 ) .
The Egyptian Post Office Museums a prize gem of Central Cairo. The doors are kept closed and electricity urned off in-between visitors but once an entrance ticket is presented, the doors swing open like curtains onto a spectacular stage. Enter the world of communication.It was opened to the public in 1940 on the second floor at the Central Post Office as a stamps exhibit.
Over the years, the collection grew from a stamp exhibit to one that highlights communication from Pharaonic times and demonstrates the development of Egypt’s postal service through the centuries. The museum has more than 1200 exhibits arranged in sections – history of communication, transportation, postal equipment, local and foreign stamps, uniforms, postal buildings, rare letters and maps.
The museum is well-preserved and exhibits are maintained with obvious care. Leather mailbags, original postal uniforms, badges, seals of all shapes and sizes, and numerous letterboxes, three dating from 1894, are examples of various postal paraphernalia. In rural areas of Egypt, official duties were the responsibility of the ruling elder, thus letters were posted and collected from his personal house. On display is an over-sized wooden letterbox that would have stood inside the house of the village-head.
There is a not-to-be-missed glass case of miniature statues of postal workers with examples of uniforms worn in Roman times to the present, as well as original postal apparel from Egypt and around the world. Valuable collections of stamped envelopes from foreign countries along with a sweeping display of commemorative stamps – King Farouk’s coronation and the first Egyptian stamp collection (1867-69) – and local stamps with Pharaonic Islamic, and Coptic designs are samples of this vast collection. At the far end of the room is a stamp mosaic made from 15,000 identical stamps.
Each individual, post-marked stamp has the same picture of the tapestry a pyramid and the Sphinx. The desk and chair stationed in front of this stamp tapestry are those of the first postmaster in Egypt, Jacob Muzzi, an Italian.Postal distribution is a particularly important part of the museum’s exhibit. Glass cases contain miniature scenes and models of ways by which messages were distributed since Pharaonic times to the present. The Post Office Museum is an off-the-beaten-path excursion that children from five- years old to adults will enjoy.
The Post Office Museum is located at the Central Post Office on Midan al-Ataba.. To buy a ticket, go through the door marked “Main Post Office”and purchase tickets at the commemorative stamp office, on your right.Tickets cost 50 piasters for Egyptians and 2LE for foreigners. Return to the sidewalk and enter the door marked “L’Organisme Nationale des Postes’.The museum is on the second floor, The museum is open Sunday through Thursday from 10am to 3pm. Telephone: +(202) 2391-3128. Formore information about unfrequented museums in Cairo, purchase Cairo, The Family Guide (3rd edition), American University in Cairo Press.