In the center of Tahrir a rosy stone building rises above the rest. Even though its two stories are by no means taller than the high-rises around it, it stands with a purpose, a beauty that the hotels and government offices lack. It is the Egyptian Museum and it houses thousands of artifacts all from this one incredible country.
As I wander around the labyrinth of sarcophagi and hieroglyphics I am struck by the incredible stretch of history housed in this one area. Inside the museum thousands of years are brought to life by the artifacts; the jewelry, stones, and mummies whisper of an ancient civilization, one far advanced and steadfast as ever. I wind my way through periods of art and burial traditions, each giving glimpses of different dynasties and conquorers. It reminds me that no matter what Egypt has been through, it will rise again.
Egypt has been conquered by the Nubians, the Romans, and later colonized by European powers, but it rose above all the conquests to become its own proud country. The museum with all its historical glory is in Tahrir Square, the site of Egypt’s recent internal revolution. Uncertainty fills every crevice of its future, but I believe that Egypt will rise above and succeed as it always has. In my previous post, I mentioned how the Egyptians have a new-found patriotism that they are excited to explore. They have overcome their foes and unjust rule, and I am excited to see how they will rise again.
As our groups floats along the Nile on one of our many Faluka (basically a sailboat) rides, Professor Lo talks about how there is so much to do and see in Cairo, and says that “Cairo is a museum” within itself. While he was talking about the opportunities and history which permeate this amazing city, I take it in a different light. Cairo is a museum of conquest, revolution, and victory. It is a museum of a people–an entire civilization and their struggle to survive, to overcome, and to thrive in this world. Most importantly, it is a museum which is always under construction, always expanding, and always gaining new exhibits.