A new and impressive addition to Egypt’s museum scene has arrived with the opening of the Sharm el-Sheikh Museum, one of the first antiquities museums to be built on the Sinai Peninsula. The concept for this resort town museum was first conceived in 2006, but construction was only finalized and the museum opened to the public in late-2020.
The various collections on display cover the entire span of Egyptian civilization, beginning as far back as pre-historic times. The 5,200 artifacts are spread across three display halls, and there is a heavy focus on the daily lives of people during the New Kingdom period.
This attention to the daily life of ancient indigenous inhabitants is acutely illustrated in the Grand Hall where visitors can see several different displays that reveal the importance of nature and wildlife to ancient Egyptians, through either sanctity or domestication. In particular, there are numerous mummified animals on display, including cats, crocodiles, eagles, and hawks, as well as statues of baboons and sphinxes.
In the Hall of Civilizations, visitors have the chance to explore artifacts from other civilizations that have interacted with Egypt throughout the centuries, including the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires. Of note in this part of the museum are the splendid coffins of Isetemheb, who was married to a priest while also being a priestess herself. Due to her high status, there is an impressive collection of canopic jars, perfume vessels, well-preserved papyri, and several statues and figurines depicting women.
Another notable set of artifacts in this museum also relates to women in Egyptian history, although of a more recent historical period. A section of the bedroom of Princess Shewikar, a member of the royal family of the Mohammed Ali era in Egypt. The room is decorated in a style similar to French or Russian royal residences, with prominent green and gold motifs and chandeliers. It also has jewelry and cosmetics that once belonged to the Egyptian royals on display.
With so much to see and do in Sharm el-Sheikh, including beaches and water sports, this step into the ancient world of days gone by makes for a good break and a different type of morning or afternoon activity to round out your time in this picturesque city on Egypt’s south Sinai coast.