Golden sarcophaguses, spells and scarabs, and rumored curses – Egypt’s mummies and mummification never ceases to amaze the world and it’s travelers. With mysteries and the unexplainable surrounding the preserved bodies of the ancient pharaohs, these royal mummies hold the secrets to a world that did unbelievable feasts of constructing mega structures deemed impossible to do in the ancient days….or even today.
If you’re visiting Egypt, then seeing the mummies of the pharaohs are a must-do. By hopping to museums, standing beside gigantic sarcophaguses made of nothing but gold and silver, and making your way into King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings makes one feel like they’re riding into Hamunaptra to uncover Imhotep and unleash his curse. Except there are no curses to unleash but there are indeed several mummies to pay respects to.
So here are the five places in Egypt where you get to see these real pharoahs, the beautiful sarcophaguses they were found in and even animals that were mummified due to the link that they were believed to have to Ancient Egyptian deities.
The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization – The Royal Mummies Hall
The best and first place that any ancient Egyptian fan (and fans of The Mummy franchise) should be visiting is the National History Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC).
In the Royal Mummies hall lies the great pharaohs that built the massive structures and once ruled Egypt. You’ll be able to see the real mummies of all the famous pharaohs such as Hatshepsut, Seti, Ramsess I, II, III, IV, V, VI (and yes, this includes the Ramses mummy of the pharaoh that built Abu Simbel). Other mummies also include those of Queen Tiye, Amenhotep, Thutmose, Merenptah and Queen Ahmose-Nefertari.
The Royal Mummies hall also contains the huge and incredible sarcophaguses that these mummies were found in. Multiple security guards roam about the place ushering visitors to quiet down and keep their voices low to show respect to the dead. Photography and videos are also not allowed in this royal chamber.
During the shoulder and high season, the mummies chamber gets incredibly crowded and you’ll have to wait in line for hours to see the mummies due to the huge rush of group tours that plagues the place. You also won’t have enough time (or space) to learn and read about them before moving onto the next pharaohs.
The best way to get to beat this rush and get to NMEC is to hire a private driver for a day. They would know the shortcuts to beat rush hour traffic and will also take you to other spots in Cairo like the pyramids and bazaars.
These private tours will also get you ahead of group rushes so you will have the time to see the mummies before the big crowds. You can get details for trusted drivers for hire who speak English for just $50 for 8 hours by sending us an email or contacting us on our page.
Egyptian Civilization Museum
While there aren’t as many mummies to see as the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities does have a few but it’s more famous for its vast and almost limitless number of sarcophaguses displayed from the entrance throughout the entire museum. There are also numerous halls filled with these sarcophaguses in glass cases with some even having mummies in them.
Visitors get to see the sarcophaguses of these mummies in all shapes and sizes from humungous stone made ones with hieroglyphic inscriptions on them (like the Imhotep sarcophagus Evelyn Carnahan finds in The Mummy) to really detail and ornated ones of Akhenaten and Tutankhamun.
Speaking of the boy king, this museum is globally famous for the King Tut Exhibit that houses the three golden sarcophaguses, the famous golden bust of King Tutankhamun, along with his golden jewelries and ornaments that Howard Carter found when he discovered the tomb.
The museum also has several animal mummies of crocodiles, goats and cats. Ancient Egyptians used to believe that these animals were substitute for their gods (Crocodiles were believed to be the form of Sobek, goats for Khnum and cats for Bastet).
You can beat the crowd surge at the museum with a private tour to get to areas quickly before the group tour crowds around the exhibits. This private tour also takes you to the pyramids and other top spots in Cairo for an added experience and value for money!
King Tut’s Tomb in Valley of The Kings
While most of the famous mummies are kept in the NMEC, King Tut’s mummy remains in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings. So if you want to see the mummy of the boy king that apparently brought down a terrible curse on Howard Carter’s expedition where a lot of his archaeologists ended up dying in mysterious circumstances, then the Valley of The Kings is where you will see the mummy of King Tut.
While most of the tombs are open to explore with the entrance ticket, you’ll need to purchase a separate ticket to enter King Tut’s tomb. Tutankhamun’s tomb is also one of the tombs that is the most preserved with the walls still retaining its original gold and white colors in its striking tones.
An underrated but fascinating temple located right on the bank of the River Nile, Kom Ombo is the only temple in all of Egypt dedicated to two gods at the same time – Horus and Sobek (the crocodile god). The Kom Ombo Crocodile Museum is a small museum build right next to the temple that houses mummies of crocodiles which inhibited the temple once.
Because of the temple’s proximity to the Nile river, these crocodiles would crawl their way into the temple complex. Ancient Egyptians believed that these creatures were Sobek in his animal form or were called to the temple by the diety and hence gave them importance enough to mummify them.
Hidden behind glass cases, the crocodile mummies are a sight to see because of it’s size and length that takes up the entire expanse of the room. Just like human mummies, these crocodiles are so well preserved they almost look like they will wake up and snap their jaws at you.
Since Kom Ombo is situated next to a river bank, most Nile Cruise packages include the temple in their stop from Aswan to Luxor. You can take a private Nile cruise or opt for a group tour instead.
An underrated museum situated on the east bank of the river Nile in Luxor, the Mummification Museum details the process of mummification and has a mummified body of a priest in the museum. But what makes this small place so fascinating is that it houses all the objects and even ingredients that the ancient Egyptians used in the mummification process.
There are also canopic jars, linen used for covering the mummies, seals and mystical emblems as well as beds and furniture used for the entire mummification process. The museum also has beautiful sarcophaguses and statues of the gods they worshipped. The museum is close to Luxor Temple with just a 10 minute walking distance making it a perfect, short, leisure stop for those who want to explore everything Luxor has to give.
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