Whether you are planning on traveling to Egypt this year or you’re a big fan of Egyptology, you may have heard of the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM). It’s one of the most anticipated openings in the world when it comes to museums and tourist attractions. After a couple of delays, GEM is slated to open its doors to the public this year.
According to the Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled Al-Anani, the Grand Egyptian Museum is set to open at the end of 2020 and its initial ticket pricing for foreigners has been set at EGP 400 ($US 25) and EGP 200 for students ($US 12.5) according to Daily News Egypt.
The Grand Egyptian Museum… Egypt’s gift to the world
The Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities officially presents the Grand Museum as “Egypt’s gift to the world” and “the largest archeological museum in the world”; authorities are hoping the opening ceremony will be attended by kings and presidents from several countries all over the world.
The GEM is also fully-equipped with restoration and conservation labs, which will serve to house a plethora of Egypt’s archeological treasures.Many of these treasures have been moved from the old Egyptian Museum in TahrirSquare, including the Tutankhamun mask and collection. Furthermore, +50,000 artifacts have been also transferred to the Grand Museum, to be a neighbor to the Great Giza plateau.
The GEM will also display the course of the development of the Egyptian civilization over the centuries, from its Presynaptic history to the Greco-Roman period, according to Egyptian officials. However, the royal Egyptian mummies will be housed in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization located in El Fustat.
Where is the Grand Egyptian Museum?
The GEM is located outside of Cairo city centre, in close proximity to the Giza Plateau. The main reason why the GEM has been located in this strategic location may be due to the lack of space in downtown Cairo. However, The Grand Egyptian Museum is significantly larger than the currentmuseum located in Tahir Square. Therefore, it needed to be located in a place where there is plenty of room.
How the GEM will look
The Grand Egyptian Museum is built on a slope and different straddles – the 162-foot difference in levels between the Nile valley, where you enter, and the Giza plateau, where the main galleries are placed.
You will find many sculpture gardens in the museum park, while a massive statue of Ramses II greets you upon entry into the main atrium. Then, the Grand Staircase that leads you from the Nile valley level to the Giza plateau one.It will be lined with 87 statues of Ancient Egyptian kings and gods.
However, all the main galleries lead left from the staircase. They are divided into 4 eras:
1. Pre-Dynastic up to 3100 B.C. and Old Kingdom (the pyramid builders).
2. Middle Kingdom
3. New Kingdom (Tutankhamun, Ramses, and Co.)
These sequential galleries are also organized according to unique themes, unlike in the old Egyptian museum:
1. Rulers: kingship and power
2. Religion: beliefs and Eternity
3. Society: the rest of the people
At the end, you are led right back to grand glass windows that look out toward the great pyramids and drive into the magnificence Ancient Egypt. Here comes the grand finale of that great sequential show celebrating one of the world’s greatest civilizations.
However, if you look towards the right of the staircase, you will find the Tutankhamun galleries where the contents of its tomb will be shown in their entirety. The GEM also features a separate “Children’s Museum” within the museum, in which they will use state-of-the-art visual tricks to explain ancient Egypt’s world to young kids.
The Grand Egyptian Museum curated a total of 100,000 artifacts from Egypt and beyond; 20,000 of those will be on display for the first time. Try not to miss it!
How to visit The GEM
Unlike the old Egyptian Museum, the Grand Egyptian Museum is perfectly placed for easy access; it’s close to the Cairo Ring Road, the freeway circling Cairo’s metropolitan area. Also, it will be connected to the grand Cairo metro line – when the new line is completed- and, conveniently, it can be reached by air through the new Sphinx International Airport, which is located only 20 minutes away from the GEM. Sphinx International Airport is planned to receive international flights, but the main advantage will be the domestic routes. It would make it an easy day trip from the Red Sea resorts or Aswan temples.
Sphinx International Airport
Cairo’s new Sphinx International Airport (SPX) is perfectly located on the northern outskirts of 6th of October City. It opened its doors earlier last year as part of a plan to alleviate pressure on Cairo International Airport, which is on the eastern side of the capital.
The Sphinx International Airport was inaugurated in 2016. It is Egypt’s 33rd airport. It enjoys a strategic location close to Giza Plateau, which makes it more accessible to tourists. It is also closer to those living in 6th of October City and Haram, as well as many other places in the Giza governorate.
What is the perfect time to visit the Grand Egyptian Museum?!
From September to April; it’s the prime season for touring in Egypt, with Christmas and Easter as the busiest periods. All tour groups are expected to visit the Grand Egyptian Museum, so it is unlikely to ever be empty. Yet, visiting it later in the day may be easier and cooler. Moreover, there will be 8 restaurants, 28 gift shops, and a 3-D cinema beside the galleries. Some of these restaurants are expected to be open 24 hours a day.
However, The Egyptian Antiquities and Tourism Minister – Khaled Al-Anany– declared that the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum will be “the largest celebration ever organized by Egypt”. After many years of monument examinations, restoration, and transportation, the Grand Egyptian Museum is expected to be the home for around 100,000 artifacts from various periods of Egypt’s rich, long, great history.
Sherif Khalil is Owner of Dunes & Beyond. Dunes & Beyond offers luxury tours, Nile cruises and desert safaris in Egypt.