Centuries of history and endless pages of stories and tales; Al-Qahira, meaning “The Defeater”, is a city that will never cease to fascinate its visitors with its unparalleled amount of mysteries, undeniable exotic orient and of course countless fascinating destinations. Compiled below is a list of the must-try spots when in Egypt, “Mother of the World.”
Located right at the heart of the city, Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza sits on a prime location with easy access to many of the city’s best sightseeing locations and activity hubs. Nearby locations include:
Established in the late 19th century under Auguste Mariette and previously housed in Boulaq, the Egyptian Museum, now located in Tahrir Square, is an adventure on its own. With over a 100 halls boasting artifacts from the prehistoric through the Roman periods, with the majority of the collection focused on the Pharaonic era; the museum will fly you back over 5,000 years of Egypt’s past. Both Arabic and English labels make it easy for observers to understand the stories, and promise to leave you in awe after an exhilarating day with legendary kings and queens and their incredible lives.
Pro-tip: wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for a lot of walking.
Another must-see museum is the Museum of Islamic Arts. Relocated from its original home at the Fatimid Mosque of al-Hakim, the museum owns an impressive ceramics, textiles, metalwork, carved wood and stone artifacts that illustrate the material culture of Egypt from the 7th – 19th centuries, as well as the largest group of enameled and gilded Mamluk mosque lamps in the world. A sight for sore eyes; the Museum of Islamic Arts has been an inspiration for many artists’ work and continues to be a sensational attraction for anyone with an interest in arts and culture.
Pro-tip: English and French brochures are available upon request.
Built in 1915, the Mahmoud Khalil Palace is the lesser known counterpart to the Museum of Islamic arts, nonetheless it is just as fascinating. Boasting 208 works from the impressionist school, the school that laid the ground for the fine art movement in the 20th century, great represented by artists like Paul Gauguin, Auguste Renoir, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, John Jongkind and Charles Francois Daubigny. The museum’s assets also include masterpieces of oriental artists such as Eugene Fromentin.
Pro-tip: take a few minutes to admire the building itself – the entrance of the palace features several 19th century styles like Arnoveau and neo-classic.
The Coptic Museum, inaugurated in 1910, hosts all findings discovered in Christian sites including funerary stelae from the 2nd through the 5th centuries from Kom Abou Billou whose style and iconography mark the transition between religious Pharaonic art (Horus falcon, Anubis jackal) and Coptic art (orant with arms raised, crosses, birds) symbolizing the hoped for resurrection. Along the way, numerous untold stories and unturned stones will enlighten and astonish you at the same time.
Pro-tip: visit Coptic Cairo all at once for the ultimate intriguing experience.
Even if you think you have read all the books and seen it a thousand times, the King Tut Museum in Sharm El Sheikh has a bulk of surprises in store for you. Between the collections of meticulous replicas of sarcophagi, mummies and treasures you will discover the untold stories, sacred rituals and glorious mysteries of the pharos. Photographs and letters provide a step-by-step narration of the mummy’s discovery; an entire room is also dedicated to Akhenaten and Nefertiti – the divine ruler of Egypt and his wife.
Pro-tip: don’t forget to pack your camera. Unlike the Egyptian museum, photography is permitted at the King Tut Museum.
Amidst Alexandria’s antiquated and affluent district, Zezenia, sits the Royal Jewelry Museum – a hub for arts, art history and inestimable collection of fine jewelry from the Muhammad Aly 19th century dynasty. Located at the former palace of Princess Fatima Al Zahraa, the museum boasts remarkable pieces of classified jewelry previously belonging to the royal family.
Pro-tip: spend some time in the gardens surrounding the palace – the mix of European style and Islamic architecture of the palace exteriors is fascinating.More posts from June 2016