The history of Egypt is inextricably intertwined with the unique and distinct empire and civilization of the Nubians that inhabited lands both in the south of modern-day Egypt and in the north of modern-day Sudan. Ethnically Nubian pharaohs even ruled Egypt at various points, and many people living in southern Egypt today are proud of Nubian descent, especially in and around Aswan. So it is only proper that this is where a modern new museum was established in 1997 in coordination with UNESCO to showcase the unique history and culture of the Nubian people today and the ancient civilization that once thrived in this area.
The Nubian Museum in Awan is a sprawling 50,000-square-meter site, of which about 7,000 square meters are dedicated to the museum building and the rest consists of gardens with local Egyptian fauna and public areas. Additionally, there is an outdoor exhibition area that displays prehistoric cave house drawings, a typical Nubian house, and several graves thought to be from the Roman or Coptic periods.
Inside the building that won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2001, there are over 3,000 artifacts from the various ages of history in the region ranging from prehistory to Pharaonic and Roman times, as well as the Coptic and Islamic periods. Most of the pieces in the museum came from excavations in the 1960s in response to the threat of the rising waters created by the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
The sandstone and pink granite building has three levels with the ground floor housing the entrance, shops, lecture theater, and the temporary exhibition hall. The upper level is mostly administrative offices and a cafeteria, while the basement level is where the main exhibition space is located.
Of the more than 3,000 pieces in the Nubian Museum’s collection, only about a third are actually displayed. The collection consists of 90 rare monumental pieces, and 50 prehistoric artifacts, and over 500 objects from the Pharaonic period.
So, if you find yourself in Aswan, you really should make the time to visit the area’s best modern attraction. – the Nubian Museum. This extremely well-done facility showcases the rich culture and civilization of the Nubians, which often rivaled their more well-known Egyptian counterparts to the north.