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Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Midan El-Tahrir
Egypt 11557
Tel: 20 2 579 6974's insider take:

Built between 1897 and 1900, this museum is filled with the golden treasures of pharaohs, and archaeological finds tracing Egyptian civilization over more than 5,000 years. The crowds tend to beeline for the golden, lapis-encrusted mask of Tutankhamen and his other sumptuous funerary objects, which made such a splash when they were discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 in the Valley of the Kings. It would take weeks to see the museum's 120,000 objects, but don't miss the Palette of Narmer, a ceremonial tablet that symbolizes the original unification of Egypt more than five millennia ago; the royal mummies; and the Fayum portraits, hauntingly realistic depictions of the deceased discovered in Greco-Roman gravesites. The best time to visit is in the afternoon, after the crowds thin. Alternatively, go at opening time and head straight for the small room containing King Tut's mask, on the second floor. You'll have the space to yourself for a good 15 minutes because the tour groups will be stuck on the ground floor listening to their guides' orientation spiel.

Open daily 9 am to 7 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.