While the Alexandria National Museum is certainly no match for the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, it’s a fine tribute to a city that once served as Egypt’s capital.
The National Museum in Alexandria is, as mentioned, definitely not in the same league as the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo, but it’s nonetheless a fitting tribute to Alexandria; a once thriving city that served as the country’s capital for centuries. Not only is the museum very interesting, it’s also a very pleasant place to visit if you are spending some time in the area.
The Rise And Fall Of Alexandria
All great cities start out small and expanded over hundreds or even thousands of years. Sadly, many great cities also reach a point where they go into decline. Some manage to survive their fall from greatness, while others all but vanish. Memphis which is located near Cairo is a prime example. Once the powerful capital of Egypt, Memphis today is an open air museum consisting only of a few remaining ruins.
Alexandria on the other hand has survived, even though it is far from being one of the greatest cities in the world. The city of Alexandria doesn’t attract the same number of tourists as Cairo; Luxor and Aswan, but it does still get its fair share of visitors.
Because fewer tourists travel to Alexandria, the city isn’t very touristy, and this in itself is what attracts many of the people who do visit. Alexandria might not have as many ancient attractions as Luxor or Aswan, but there are still lots of things to see and do, including visiting the Alexandria National Museum.
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A Brief History Of The Alexandria National Museum
The Alexandria National Museum occupies an old Italian palace-style mansion that once belonged to a wealth Italian wood salesman. It has served as an American consulate for many years prior to being converted into a museum. By comparison to some of Egypt’s other museums, the one in Alexandria is still a relatively new museum, since it was only inaugurated in 2003.
Inside The Museum
According to officials at the Alexandria National Museum, there are just over 1000 artifacts on the premises. The vast majority of these antiquities come from other museums although there is quite a sizable collection of local artifacts as well.
The artifacts that are on display at the museum trace history from the time of the pharaohs all the way through to the 20th century. The museum displays mummies, weapons, pottery, stoneware; sculptures; and many other sorts of artifacts which one would expect to see in a museum in Egypt. There are also some fascinating artifacts on display that were recovered from underwater ruins located in the city’s harbor.
One of the great things about visiting the Alexandria National Museum is the fact that many of the artifacts, other than those that were acquired locally, have rarely been seen by the public. Prior to these artifacts being put on display at the museum they were mostly locked away in storage where only museum officials had access to them.
Learn more about the museum here (the official in Arabic only).
Onsite Open Air Theatre
Over and above the displays which occupy the buildings three floors, the Museum is also home to an open air theatre which is used for both lectures and performances. If you would like to attend one of the performances at the Alexandria National Museum you can inquire at the museum, or else you can just ask your guide.
If you are intending booking an Egypt tour package and you want to visit the Alexandria National Museum, it is recommended that you check your chosen tour itinerary to confirm that it includes a visit to the museum, before you actual book your tour.
Country Specific Egypt Tour Information
Looking for more information before you decide on what to see, where to go and what to pack for Egypt? We have a specific international guide covering the most important points you need to be aware of before traveling to Egypt.