Alexandria National Museum - History and Facts | History Hit

Alexandria National Museum

Alexandria, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt

The Alexandria National Museum in Alexandria, Egypt houses one of the world's finest collections of Pharaonic, Ptolemaic, Coptic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic artefacts in the world.

Peta Stamper

03 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Alexandria National Museum

Opened in 2003 by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the Alexandria National Museum sits in the middle of the city of Alexandria in an elegant early 20th century Italianate mansion that used to be the home to the Consulate of the United States of America.

The 3,480 square metre museum documents the rich and varied history of Alexandria – founded by Alexander the Great in April 331 BC – from the age of the Pharaohs up to the 19th century and takes in the Pharaonic, Ptolemaic, Coptic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic eras.

Alexandria National Museum history

The museum’s Italianate building dates to 1926, formerly the home of a wood salesman, the mansion saw meetings of upper-class Egyptian society until the later becoming the United States consulate.

Alexandria National Museum today

Chronologically spread over 3 floors, the 1,800 artefacts include statues, jewellery, coins, weaponry, homewares, religious iconography, sarcophagi, terracotta figurines, clothing, glassware, pottery and even mummies. You can easily spend a couple of hours wandering back through Alexandria’s ancient past, guided by richly informative description boards.

The basement covers finds from Egypt’s time under the Pharaohs – walk past the reserve heads placed near the dead as substitute when passing to the afterlife. The ground floor is dedicated to the Graeco-Roman period and boasts a small statue of Greek god Harpocrates holding a finger to his lips in silence. Harpocrates was derived from the Egyptian god Horus. Finally, the top floor displays items from the Byzantine, Islamic and modern ages, including intricate Ottoman weapons and jewellery.

The old garage block has been converted into a lecture hall and open air theatre while visitors can take a high-tech audio-visual tour of the museum and its artefacts in the basement workshop, looking at the pieces from lots of angles. All the labels are in Arabic and English and for anyone interested in Egyptian antiquity and history, the Alexandria National Museum in Egypt is a ‘must visit’.

Getting to Alexandria National Museum

Located in Alexandria’s Ash Shatibi district, the museum is only 10 minutes drive or taxi ride from the international airport, and a 15 minute walk from Alexandria’s main train station. The museum is also close to the Al Shalalat Park, a great spot to pause and find shade from the Egyptian heat.