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Museums & Art Galleries


Abdeen Palace Museum
Moustafa Abdel Raziq Street, Off Abdeen Square, Cairo

The stately grandeur of this palace owes to its construction in 1863 at a time when a worldwide cotton shortage meant huge revenues for Egyptian cotton exports. It served as a royal palace until the end of the monarchy in 1952, when it became the home of the president. In the 1980s, President Hosni Mubarak decided to restore the decaying building and turn it into a weapons and medals museum, a process that was interrupted by a major earthquake in 1992.

Housing every conceivable means of killing an enemy, the weapons section is always a hit with young males. Its extensive collection of knives, guns and cannons, as well as ingenious combinations, is impressive and well-labelled. Another section is dedicated to a large, and somewhat monotonous, exhibit of medals and gifts presented to President Mubarak on various occasions, as well as medals given to members of the former royal family and Egyptian celebrities.

Opens Saturday to Thursday 10 am-3 pm.

Agricultural Museum
El Sawra Street, Cairo

Opened in 1938, this is the world's oldest agricultural museum. Its 11 hectares (27 acres) of tranquil grounds make it the perfect spot for a family outing. The museum includes exhibits on traditional and modern agricultural equipment and techniques as well as a collection of ineptly stuffed animals. The model exhibits of village life are interesting and often quite humorous. Opens Tuesday to Sunday 9 am-3 pm.

Carriage Museum
Salah Salem Highway, Citadel Historic Area, Cairo

This small museum housed in a former British officers mess hall contains eight carriages used by Egyptian royalty. There are horse heads, saddles and riding equipment on display. The highlight is the glittering gold carriage presented by Napoleon to Khedive Ismail. Nearby is the carriage used by Khedive Ismail when he opened the Suez Canal in 1869.

Coptic Museum
Mar Guirguis Street, Cairo

Established in 1908 to preserve Coptic Christian artifacts from destruction, this renovated old building houses the world's largest collection of Coptic art. Its two wings contain fabulous artifacts (both secular and religious) produced by Copts throughout the ages. Exhibits are arranged roughly in chronological order, with the upper floor housing an exhibition of Nubian paintings salvaged from villages before they were flooded by the Aswan High Dam in the 1950s and 1960s. Worth a look are the wonderful examples of paintings and textiles, as well as metal, wood, glass and ivory craftsmanship. If you're a history buff, check out the Nag Hammadi documents on the top floor. Opens daily 9 am-5 pm.

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