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The New Grand Egyptian Museum In Giza: A Cultural Mecca For Egypt Travel

Jul 2

Imagine standing before the treasures of King Tutankhamun, gazing up at the largest and most complete collection of his burial artefacts ever assembled. The Grand Egyptian Museum, currently in its final stages of completion, will offer visitors this and much more. 

Set against the backdrop of the Great Pyramids in Giza, the Grand Egyptian Museum is poised to become one of the world’s premier museums and a cultural mecca for Egypt travel. With limited guided tours now available, we can get a sneak peek of what this incredible museum offers. 

This blog post will delve into the fascinating history and journey of the Grand Egyptian Museum and offer recommendations and insights for those planning to visit this must-see destination.



Brief Overview of the Grand Egyptian Museum

The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), located on the Giza Plateau just outside of Cairo, is set to become one of the world's largest, most modern, and most renowned museums once it opens in late 2023. In development for over three decades, the GEM will be a new crown jewel for Egypt and an important effort to modernize and expand museum complexes across the country.

With the government throwing its weight behind the project, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities have merged to provide support. Upon opening, the museum is expected to welcome up to 15,000 visitors per day, or nearly 5 million visitors each year, solidifying its position as one of the premier museum destinations on the planet.

Home to nearly 100,000 artefacts, the GEM will house the entire treasure collection from King Tut's tomb, over 20 royal mummies, and an extensive Greek and Roman collection. The museum's 12 gigantic exhibition halls promise to offer an immersive exploration of Egyptian culture, featuring nearly 90 statues of pharaohs and Egyptian gods.

In addition to its impressive collection, the GEM's design includes 19 restoration labs for educational and preservation initiatives, a children's education space, and interactive exhibits. A grand pedestrian walkway will connect the museum to the pyramid site, making it an important cultural hub for tourists and Egyptians. [1][2]


Importance as a cultural destination in Egypt

Egypt, renowned globally for its rich history and cultural heritage, is about to raise its impressive standing even higher with the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza. Destined to become the largest archaeological museum in the world, it promises a uniquely immersive cultural experience for visitors. It will soon serve as a beacon for tourists and scholars alike, showcasing the thousands of years of history that Egypt's civilization holds.

This monumental attraction will feature an extensive collection of antiquities, including items from the Luxor, Fayoum, and Alexandria regions and artefacts from the Grand Pyramid complex. Housing Greek and Roman collections, the museum will effectively be a one-stop destination for anyone seeking to delve into Egypt's nearly 5,000 years of history.

The Grand Egyptian Museum has been thoughtfully designed to provide a uniquely dedicated space to display and preserve Egypt's precious cultural heritage. Upon completion, it is expected to attract more than five million visitors annually, rapidly establishing itself as a must-visit tourist hotspot.

In addition to its clear cultural significance, the museum will play a crucial role in reigniting the Egyptian tourism sector, catalyzing a much-needed revival following the impact of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the Arab Spring. By showcasing Egypt's invaluable cultural heritage, the Grand Egyptian Museum will open a new chapter of sustainable economic growth and development for the nation. [3][4]



Description of the museum's location in Giza

The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) is in the heart of Giza, a bustling neighbourhood on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt's sprawling capital city. Its prime location is adjacent to one of the world's most famous landmarks, the Great Pyramids of Giza, which can be seen from most angles within the museum. 

This proximity to the pyramids offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to experience the grandeur and majesty of ancient Egypt while also serving as a reminder of how the ancient civilization thrived here for centuries. 

Furthermore, the museum's location is ideal for tourists, as it is easily accessible and conveniently situated near other popular attractions such as the Sphinx and the Cairo Tower. Overall, the GEM is an ideal destination for history buffs and tourists from all over the world to explore and experience the rich culture of Egypt in a unique and unforgettable way. [5][6]



Proximity to other popular tourist attractions

The Grand Egyptian Museum's location in Giza is undoubtedly enticing for travellers. Its proximity to other popular destinations makes it a convenient addition to any Egyptian itinerary.

Just a stone's throw away from the museum is the legendary Pyramids of Giza, one of the world's most famous and iconic tourist attractions. This allows visitors to access both sites and better understand ancient Egyptian history and culture.

Another nearby attraction is the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, also known as the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. Housing over 136,000 artefacts, visitors can explore items from King Tut's tomb and countless other treasures. Other notable points of interest include the Saladin Citadel of Cairo, the Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha, and the bustling Khan el-Khalili bazaar.

With many sights to see and experiences to be had in the area, a trip to the Grand Egyptian Museum promises to be truly memorable. The Giza location provides ample opportunity to discover and immerse oneself in Egypt's rich and captivating history. This convenient proximity to such remarkable attractions solidifies the Grand Egyptian Museum as a must-visit destination for any traveller exploring Egypt. [7][8]



Timeline of the museum's construction and delays

The construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum has been an intricate and prolonged endeavour. First conceived in 2002, an architectural competition for the museum's design took place, resulting in Heneghan Peng Architects and Arup as the winners in 2003. Construction commenced in 2006, but numerous delays have hampered the project, causing the opening date to be pushed back several times. 

Contributing factors to these delays include the Arab Spring and the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted funding and construction timelines. In addition, a fire erupted near the museum entrance in 2018, but fortunately, no artefacts suffered damage. Despite these setbacks, the museum is now reportedly over 90% complete, with Egyptian government officials suggesting a possible opening as early as November 2021.

Once open, the Grand Egyptian Museum is anticipated to become a cultural mecca for Egypt travel, displaying an extensive collection of artefacts from ancient Egypt, including the iconic gold funeral mask of Tutankhamun. While limited guided tours are currently available, visitors can expect to see 100,000 objects exhibited, accompanied by a 250-seat cinema and a children's museum. Furthermore, guests can enjoy panoramic views of the Great Pyramids of Giza from the museum's vantage point. [9][10]



Reasons for delays, including the Arab Spring and COVID-19 pandemic

The Grand Egyptian Museum, poised to be the largest archaeological museum in the world, has experienced numerous delays in its opening due to various factors. One of the primary reasons for the project's postponement was the Arab Spring, which originated in Egypt in 2011. The ensuing political unrest and instability made it challenging to continue construction and maintain security around the museum.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has also caused significant delays, with the Egyptian Presidency announcing that the inaugural activities for all major national projects, including the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum, would be deferred until 2021. The pandemic has led to restricted travel and limited access to construction equipment and materials, resulting in further project completion delays.

Despite these obstacles, the museum's construction persists, and officials aim to open it to the public as soon as possible, highlighting Egypt's vast history and cultural significance. With its extensive collections and exhibition areas, the Grand Egyptian Museum is destined to become a significant cultural destination in Egypt, attracting tourists worldwide. [11][12]



Description of the museum's size and capacity

The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) is an astonishing architectural design and engineering feat. Occupying a sprawling 120-acre (50-hectare) plot of land in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, the GEM boasts a floor area of 810,000 square feet (75,000 square meters), making it the largest archaeological museum in the world. Capable of hosting around 15,000 visitors daily, this top cultural destination offers travel enthusiasts a deep dive into Egypt's rich history and heritage.

Visitors can witness the grandeur of ancient Egyptian civilization showcased through a vast collection of more than 100,000 artefacts that span 5,000 years of history. The building's design is influenced by the nearby pyramids' triangular form, featuring a grand entrance adorned with translucent alabaster panels and towering stone statues to welcome guests.

The GEM's exhibitions are thoughtfully divided by theme and period, providing a comprehensive look into Egypt's rich cultural legacy. In addition to permanent galleries and temporary exhibits, the museum features a dedicated children's museum, ensuring an engaging experience for all ages.

With its eye-popping capacity and immense cultural offerings, the Grand Egyptian Museum is a wonder Egypt travel enthusiasts must see. [13][14]



Overview of the museum's collections and exhibition areas

The Grand Egyptian Museum, a cultural mecca, will be home to a vast collection of artefacts showcasing the immense heritage of one of the world's oldest civilizations, ancient Egypt. The museum's extensive collections feature treasures from Luxor, Fayoum, Alexandria, and the Grand Pyramid complex in Giza. Additionally, visitors will have the opportunity to witness innumerable artefacts that have been repatriated from international museums all over the world.

With a rich history of civilization at its core, the museum will also house Greek and Roman collections from around Egypt. Guests can expect to witness the grandeur of King Tut's tomb and marvel at nearly 90 statues of Pharaohs and Egyptian gods along the grand staircase. They will also have the chance to see over 20 highly anticipated royal mummies, a solar boat, and several never-before-displayed obelisks from King Tut's tomb.

Spread over 12 immense exhibition halls, each dedicated to a different era of Egyptian history, the Grand Egyptian Museum offers an immersive experience for visitors. Its unique design aims to provide a visually stunning and engaging environment for all who explore it. 

The Grand Egyptian Museum is set to be a must-visit destination for culture and history enthusiasts worldwide, showcasing the vast and incredible legacy of ancient Egypt. [15][16]



Information on the limited guided tours currently available

Good news for those eagerly anticipating the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum! Although the official opening date is yet to be confirmed, limited guided tours are now available for a sneak peek of what's to come. 

Visitors can explore completed museum areas, including the Grand Hall, conference centre, commercial area, and exterior gardens. However, the collections and exhibition areas remain closed and off-limits until the official opening. 

Interested in taking one of these limited tours? Foreigners' tickets cost LE1000 (about $33), while Egyptians' tickets cost LE150 (about $5). Six-time slots are available each day. Remember that these limited tours may not satisfy your desire to see everything the Grand Egyptian Museum offers, but they are currently the best way to experience the site. 

These tours bring hope that the museum's opening date is finally in sight, allowing us to witness soon the incredible artefacts on display. [17][18]



Areas of the museum open to the public during these tours

Currently, the Grand Egyptian Museum opens its doors to visitors for limited guided tours. These tours cover a few completed museum areas open to the public with a reservation. During these tours, visitors can explore the Grand Hall, where the iconic Tutankhamun's treasure is displayed. Additionally, they can see the commercial areas of shops and restaurants, conference centres, and exterior gardens. However, the museum's collections and exhibition areas remain closed until the official grand opening, which is currently unconfirmed but expected to launch in late-2023.

It's important to note that the limited-access tours may not satisfy your desire to see all the Grand Egyptian Museum offers. But if you're heading to Egypt soon, it's the best way to experience the site for now. It's also worth considering that the ticket prices announced in 2020 were about US$25 for foreigners and US$3.75 for Egyptians, though those prices may increase based on a few indications from the limited-access tours. 

Even though the Grand Egyptian Museum is not officially open yet, these limited guided tours can satisfy visitors' curiosity and provide an exciting preview of what's to come. So go ahead and make your reservation to explore some of the areas of this magnificent and world-renowned museum. [19][20]