Above: Ramses II and Nefertari in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt - ANDREW HARPER EDITOR

Cairo’s current Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square opened in 1901 and has long both amazed and appalled foreign visitors. A vast, crumbling neoclassical structure, it houses the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities, but the dark and dusty rooms, and the apparently disorganized way in which much of the collection is displayed, have been a source of widespread incredulity. The sheer quantity of the objects on show is astounding. As well as monumental statuaries, these include many of the treasures unearthed in the tomb of Tutankhamen and the mummies of Seti I; his son, the great pharaoh Ramses II; and Queen Hatshepsut.

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