The most enduring images of Egypt are its pharaonic treasures and its history, such as the relics and artefacts that live in Cairo's Egyptian Museum. But with a written history stretching back to 3,100 BC, at the time of Greek, Roman, Coptic and Islamic empires, every age and culture demands a museum of its own.
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo
Sitting in the shadows of Cairo's modern town hall, the elegant coral-pink and copper-domed Egyptian Museum strikes a gentle pose. The restrained neo-classical French exterior is little preparation for the awesome array of treasures and ancient wonders that wait silently behind it's arched windows.
Stepping through the entrance into the grand central atrium, monumental statues tower overhead from the imposing Colossus of Amenhotep III to King Djoser's life-size sculpture. The ground floor galleries take you on a trip through time, each room filled with the splendours of a great kingdom. King Narmer's 5,000 year old palette is an item of major artistic and historical importance.
Ancient Egypt's cultural wealth is also shown in many other artefacts that reveal the skill of ancient artisans.
But it's the upper floor that holds the greatest allure. The Tutankhamun Galleries house over 1,700 items including Tutankhamun's famous tomb, discovered in the Valley of the Kings in West-Thebes, opposite modern Luxor.
he Egyptian Museum is just simply unrivalled with over 136,000 items on display, not mentioning the hundreds of thousands in the basement. These items date back to the very origins of a united Egypt in 3,100 BC. The museum is renowned for holding the finest collection of Egyptian antiquities in the world.
The Islamic Ceramic Museum
A harmonious hybrid of Turkish, Moroccan and Andalusian architecture, Prince Amr Ibrahim's palace now houses the Museum of Islamic Ceramics amid the European-style villas and mansions of riverside Zamalek.
Cluttered around the lobby, with its stained glass panels, central fountain and marble walls, are a series of galleries dedicated to Fatimid, Ummayad, Ayyubid, Mamluk and Ottoman period ceramics. The collections inside the galleries include exquisitely patterned plates and vases, ancient oil lamps and detailed glazed tiles. The collection also includes fine examples from Syria, Persia, Andalusia, Tunisia and Iraq.
The Grand Museum (Giza)
Alongside the Great Pyramids, a new architectural marvel is waiting to rise from Giza's rippling sands. With an estimated budget of over 500 million US dollars, the new Grand Museum will be a technological innovation, with displays designed to be interactive and cyber-friendly.
Once completed, it will hold the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities in the world, dwarfing even the Egyptian Museum with over 100,000 artefacts from the Coptic, Islamic, Graeco-Roman and Pharaonic Dynasties.
The Graeco-Roman Museum (Alexandria)
Spanning from the fourth century BC to the seventh century AD, the objects and artefacts of the Graeco-Roman museum show the slow but sure morphing of the Egyptian and Greek pantheons into the cult of the god Serapis. Opened by Khedive Abbas Helmy II in the dwindling years of the nineteenth century, the museum brings together over 40,000 items from ancient coins, portraits and statuary to archaeological excavations around Alexandria and the Fayoum Oasis.
The Nubia Museum (Aswan)
Nubian distinctive culture and artistic achievements.
Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil & his Wife's Museum (Giza)
Personal collection of paintings, sculptures and vases of nineteenth century Europe
The Coptic Museum (Old Cairo)
Relics from Egypt's early Christians.