ITP Team in Cairo: NMEC and Giza Pyramid Complex
Written by Claire Messenger, ITP Manager
As we drove through the Fustat area of Cairo, the sight of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC), topped by an impressive pyramid, really was astonishing. The building, with its gardens and lake, dominates the landscape and talking to Sayed Abuelfadl Othman Ahmed (ITP 2016) and his colleague Mahrous Elsanadidy, the museum aims to play a special part in the local community as well as attracting visitors from across Egypt and the world.
Sayed and Mahrous gave us a tour of their current temporary exhibition on handicrafts – focussing on textiles, woodwork, pottery and jewellery – throughout Egyptian history. NMEC’s aim is to present the history of Egypt to its visitors and this exhibition demonstrates well how it will achieve this.
Once fully open, the Museum will have galleries which look at early civilisation; the importance of the river Nile; writing and science; material culture; the state and society and belief. Sayed explained how the staff are currently working on the next phase of galleries to open, which will house the royal mummies – presently on display in the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square. There will also be a gallery which will focus on the history of the city of Cairo and will have a viewing platform to look over the city.
We are looking forward to Sayed keeping us up-to-date with the next chapter in this exciting new museum’s story.
Written by Rebecca Horton, ITP Coordinator
During our visit to the Grand Egyptian Museum, I had my first glimpse of the pyramids of Giza in the distance. Later in the week I had the opportunity to visit the Giza pyramid complex. As Claire and I approached the UNESCO World Heritage Site the pyramids began to take on a completely different form; from afar they are magnificent structures but it is only as you get closer that you realise how impressive they really are. Standing next to the Great Pyramid, ‘the Pyramid of Khufu’, you realise that one stone alone is the height of a human and much wider.
We strolled around the pyramid, allowing me to take in the scenery and went into Khufu Boat Museum. After stepping into stylish slippers we made our way around the different levels of the museum with the Khufu Ship, fully intact, at its centre. The solar barge had been buried in Khufu’s burial chamber for use in the afterlife, and at the base of the museum you could look down into the pit that the boat had been placed in over 4000 years ago. Pictures of how the boat was discovered highlight the painstaking work carried out by restorers, ready for the solar barge’s display in the museum in 1982.
After topping up my postcard collection it was time to enter the King’s chamber of the Pyramid of Khufu. After a very steep incline in high humidity, I made it! Claire and I then continued the along to the Sphinx, passing the pyramid of Khafre on the way. The reclining Sphinx has the body of a lion, the head of a human and is believed to have the face of Pharaoh Khafre.
Visiting such an iconic site was an incredible and unforgettable experience!