The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) is located in Fustat, which was the first capital of Egypt under Muslim rule. This area of Cairo includes many churches, monasteries and the Amr Ibn Alas mosque, the first mosque in Egypt. The museum opened in 2017 and displays 50,000 artifacts presenting Egyptian Civilization from prehistoric times to the present day. The collection is divided into two separate regions, one chronological with archaic, pharaonic, Greco-roman, Coptic, medieval, Islamic, modern, and contemporary. This is a place full of history that we will visit during our trip to Egypt.
The other thematic, with, down of civilization, the Nile, writing, state and society, material culture, beliefs and thinking and the gallery of royal mummies.
The biggest and newest attraction to the museum are 22 royal mummies that have been transferred from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir square to their final resting place in the NMEC. You can see, among others the mummies of King Ramses II, King Seqenenre Tao, Queen Hatshepsut, Queen Tiye, King Seti I and Queen Ahmose-Nefertari.
The royal mummies
The Egyptians sought to preserve their dead through mummification, so that the soul could inhabit the body eternally. Mummification techniques changed over time, but ideal mummification involved removing the internal organs (lungs, liver, intestines, and stomach), and often the brain, to prevent decomposition of the body.
Over a period 70 days, the body desiccated with natron (a mixture of salt and baking soda found in the Wadi Natrun), anointed with oils, herbs, and resins, and wrapped in bandages, interspersed with amulets. By studying mummies, we learn about ancient Egyptians' diet, diseases, funerary beliefs, economy, scientific, and medical knowledge.
The New Kingdom royal mummies are amongst the finest mummies ever made. Although most of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings were robbed, many of their mummies survived because priests moved them to a tomb hidden high in the nearby cliffs of Deir el-Bahari in the 10th century BC. Thieves discovered the tomb in the late 19th century AD and started selling objects from it. In 1881, the Antiquities Service found the thieves, rescued the mummies, their coffins, and funeral objects, and brought them to Cairo, where they were displayed and studied. One of the few tombs in the Valley to contain the body of its owner was that of Amenhotep II. Priests hid other royal bodies in his tomb (including Merenptah, Thutmose IV, Seti II, Ramesses IV, V, and VI), together with their grave goods, which are displayed here for the first time as a group.
By including the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo itinerary, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of Egypt's fascinating history and cultural heritage. The opportunity to see the royal mummies up close is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that immerses visitors in the ancient world of the pharaohs, making it a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in Egyptology and ancient civilizations.
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