Monday, January 31, 2011
Looters And Vandals Break Into The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities In Cairo
As the riots continue to rage in Cairo, and other parts of Egypt, one of their targets was the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities (aka, Cairo National Museum):
I had the opportunity to go to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities back in April, 2009 (I still have my ticket stub, too. It is beautiful.). It is an incredible building in and of itself, but it is what is contained inside that is just breath-taking. This sphinx stands guard:
This museum is jam-packed with antiquities, the likes of which many of us, myself included, have only read about in history books, or seen on television. One could literally spend months in there, and not see it all.
One of the most amazing exhibits contained within this museum is the complete burial chamber of King Tutankhamun. The entire thing is there. Think of a rectangular nesting doll, with the largest one as large as a good-size room. Each one contained artifacts of tremendous value, and each one was set apart. One room alone was dedicated to the jewelry and riches contained within the burial chamber, including this famous image:
Below is a shot of the Entry to the Burial Chamber:
The following is the actual coffin for King Tut:
All of this, and so much more - more than you can possibly imagine - are housed in this museum in Cairo (unfortunately, cameras were NOT allowed inside the museum, so I am unable to show you any personal photographs of the National Museum). That this unbelievable treasure - the entire museum, that is - had been unguarded is shocking. While the looters may not have gotten away with much, it is a shame they ever had the opportunity to even gain access to this museum at all. Sadly, the vandals did do some damage to these ancient artifacts.
Thank heavens there are some Egyptians who stepped in to protect their national, global, antiquities. Who knows what could have been had they not done so, and had armed guards not finally been called in? I am grateful that we do not have to find that out.
And while I cannot show you what was inside, I can show you that I was there (I do hope guards are protecting the Pyramids and the Sphinx):
To say this is a disturbing time in Egypt is an understatement. Curfews continue to be ignored, tanks are rolling into the city of Cairo, and protests continue to rage. But for now, while the future for this country is uncertain, at least the history is safe...