Cairo (Egyptian Museum)
Apr 12, 2005
|'Hello my friend! Where are you from?'
This is the usual greeting you get from the locals as you head down the street. Cairo is a booming metropolis, and today, the smog is heavy and at street level, the traffic is crazy.
We soon found ourselves unwilling particpants in a real live version of Frogger. *beep* *beep* run 2 paces. Stop. Make like a tree as a van races inches away from your toes, and a cyclist passes behind you ringing his bell. Wait in the sea of traffic and watch the agitated reactions on the faces of the drivers as they blast their horns and dodge around you. Quickly walk around the cars briefly stopped infront of you and RUN! across the rest of the lanes as a bus comes racing down the off ramp towards you. phew! made it!
Welcome to Egypt.
We started our day with a trip to the Egyptian Museum. It was heavily guarded by the tourist police (given the events of 1997).
Inside, we found many well preserved specimen of rock carvings, statues, and sarcophagi. The highlights in here include a life sized statue of Horus and Rameses III, the Mummy Room, and of course the treasures of Tutankhamon .
The Mummy Room is a dimly lit room, with plenty of AC. 12 mummies (Tuthmosis II,III,IV; Amenhotep I and wife Queen Merytamum; Seti I; Seqenenre II; Merenptah; Queens Henuttawi and Nedjmet; and Ramses II and IV) were kept in their own glass coffin. The condition that they were in ranged from poor (in which case you saw nothing more than just the wrappings --Tuthmosis IV), to excellent (where you can actually see the wrinkles on the face --Ramses II). The freekiest looking one was Seqenenre. You could clearly see a wide cut in the skull behind one ear (possibly by an axe), and his face was smashed in on one side (possibly by a mace). They suspect that he died a violent death while in battle.
Next, we moved on to the treasures of Tutankhamon. They found his tomb guarded by two giant statues. Inside, there were 4 huge gold boxes, one inside another. Scattered inside each layer were statues, jewellry, alabaster jars, and funery couches. Within the inner-most box were 3 sarcophagi, one inside the other.
Also on display were the articles he was buried in. This includes his beautiful death mask, which is made of solid gold and weighs 11kg, a vest of gold with semi precious stones, and flip-flops (actually, among all the treasures were about 47 pairs of them!).
It was a great museam to visit. Thankfully, not everything is in the British Museum!!