on June 6, 2006
The first thing you should know about the Egyptian Museum is that as of this writing, you’re not allowed to even carry a camera into the building. Take some photos in the gardens (there are sufficient artifacts there) either before or after you go through the museum. You’ll have to take your camera to a little stand and they give you a claim ticket. Those people who use flash when they shouldn’t ruined it for everyone.For a car, a guide, and the entrance fee (including time at the Mosque) the cost was $50. The collections in the museum are massive, and you could easily spend days here—kind of like the Louvre. However, you can get plenty of highlights in a morning. The displays are divided into Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms, with the second floor dedicated to the treasures of King Tutankhamen—including a jewelry room with the mask, wow! This is one of the few places where I would think you absolutely should have a guide, preferably one that knows hieroglyphics. Our guide taught us some of the common symbols, how to read the cartouches (there are two names for a king, his birth name, and his king name), how to look for some of the gods and goddesses (Hathor has two horns and a moon, Horace is a falcon, etc.)The King Tut floor is amazing. How very fortunate that Carter found the tomb in tact. I had read that there was an extra charge for this, but unless it was included in the tour and we just didn’t know it, there weren’t any ticket stands, etc.The Mummy Room, however, does cost an extra 70 Egyptian pounds. I’ve read debates online as to whether the mummies are worth all that extra money, but I’d have to say that they were. There were about 10 mummies in the room and the best one, in my opinion, is the mummy of Ramses II (the only Ramses worth mentioning). It’s so cool (and freaky) that you can still see hair, teeth, fingernails, etc. Of note, only the royal mummies have their arms crossed. No crossed arms, probably not a royal mummy. They took out the organs and put them in jars—liver, stomach, intestine, lungs. The heart was left in the body, because it would be weighed in the afterlife to judge whether the king was good or bad and could continue on to Osiris. The brain was sucked out after being melted with a big hot poker.The gift shops here are a little lacking, I think, being that you can’t take photos inside. There are lots of postcards, but not of the artifacts. Regardless, you shouldn’t miss taking the photos in your mind.
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