The Nubia Museum is one of the least visited museums in Egypt but one of the country’s most fascinating attractions, featuring exhibits that span more than 6,500 years to the present day, from the ancient Kingdom of Kush to contemporary popular culture.

Introduction

When the New Aswan Dam was built in 1970 and Lake Nasser buried with water some of the main sites where the Nubians lived, UNESCO and the Egyptian government made an agreement for the construction of the Nubia Museum, aimed at preserving the ancient Nubian culture in archaeological remains and maintaining its legacy.

Its construction began in 1986 and took more than 10 years: on November 23, 1997, it was inaugurated in the city of Aswan.

The museum occupies a very large space of 50,000 m² on three floors. The basement houses the main exhibition hall, workshops and restoration laboratories, an open theater, a reception center and antique stores. On the first floor is the main entrance, another exhibition hall, a VIP room, an auditorium and the museum’s administrative offices. Upstairs, cafeteria, library, photography and microfilm rooms.

If you visit the Nubia Museum you will find everything from prehistoric Nubian artifacts to those that belonged to the Nubians of the Islamic era. In between, it covers all the stages through which this legendary culture has lived and survived: Neolithic period, Pharaonic centuries, Greek and Roman occupation, Byzantine and Coptic years. It has, in total, a collection of more than 3,000 pieces.

Ideal for those tourists who are looking for an original and somewhat different visit, as well as for those who prefer to stop at the museums to patiently contemplate all the pieces and without too many people.

What to see at the Nubia Museum

  • Statue of King Shabitko. The third pharaoh of the XXV dynasty of Egypt, who ruled from 707 BC to 690 BC period of Nubian domination in the region. He is one of the most important Nubian pharaohs of a very short dynasty but that after so many years of Egyptian domination managed to resist and bend the victor.
  • Statue of Ramses II. An imposing statue of 12 meters high and that heads other monuments belonging to various periods of the Nubian culture.
  • Statues of Nubian rulers. The Egyptian Museum in Cairo has loaned to the Nubia Museum some statues of Nubian rulers, such as the pharaoh Taharqo of the 25th Dynasty, his sister Amenirdis II, and Anjnesneferibra II.
  • Supplies and ornaments for horses. These animals were of utmost importance to the ancient Nubians and not only as a means of transportation but also as pets and also used in certain religious rituals. The museum preserves different objects specially made to decorate and ride horses in ancient Nubia.
  • Tanutamani stone painting. Son of King Shabako and nephew of his predecessor Taharqo, Tanutamani organized a march through the Nile River valley and conquered all of Egypt, including Memphis, crowning himself as pharaoh. By assassinating Necho I, king of the Assyrians, the Assyrians returned to Egypt and defeated Tanutamani’s army in the Delta, advancing south to Thebes and sacking the city. But the Assyrian occupation would be quelled and Tanutamani would rule Upper Egypt between 664 BC and 656 BC as part of the XXV dynasty.
  • Objects collected in the excavations of the Palace Fortress of Ibrim. When the Aswan Dam was built, statues, stelae and structures from this fortress palace were kept for display in the Nubia Museum. Today, the remains of Ibrim can be seen above Lake Nasser, a citadel that was built between 920 BC and 800 BC, following the withdrawal of the Egyptians and the need of the Nubian people to protect themselves.
  • Mummies of sacred rams. The cult of the Theban god Amun, represented with a human body and a ram’s head, gained much strength in the Nubian region with the expansion of the Egyptian Empire and its dominance in the region. With Egypt’s rule over Nubia, the vast majority of Nubians began to worship Amun and, with this, to consider rams sacred. In the Museum of Nubia are preserved mummies of rams in honor of this deity.

How to get to the Nubia Museum

The Nubia Museum is located in the city of Aswan, 2 km from the city center.

To move within the city, the best options are cabs or the hired guide service with their respective private transportation. There is a bus service, but it is similar to Cairo: they are only indicated in Arabic and are often complicated to understand, as they never stop at the same places.

You can also take a day tour with the Temple of Philae and Lake Nasser and Aswan Dam.

Schedules

The Nubia Museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Visit prices

Admission is one-time for all visitors and costs 20 Egyptian pounds, regardless of whether they are adults or accredited students.

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