The Egyptian Museum, or Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, is the oldest museum in the world dedicated entirely to Egyptian culture, was founded in 1824 by Carlo Felice di Savoia, and is second in importance only to that of Cairo. Turin, today, is considered the city where Egyptology was born, for being the cradle of a vast historical-cultural heritage that has become an object of interest on the part of the greatest scholars of the past.
- What to see and how to visit the Egyptian Museum
- The Book of the Dead of Luefankh
- The Predynastic Mummy
- The Gebelein Canvas
- The Tomb of the Unknowns
- The Ostrakon of the Dancer
- The Chapel of Maia
- The Tomb of Kha and Merit
- The statues in the Gallery of the Kings
- The statue of Uahka
- Hours and prices
- Online tickets and guided tours
- User questions and comments
What to see and how to visit the Egyptian Museum
The Museum is divided into several levels:
- Basement (-1): offers an excursus on the history of the museum
- Ground floor: includes the Gallery of the Kings and the Temple of Ellesiya / Nubian Hall
- First floor: groups Deir el-Medina, the Tomb of Kha, the Gallery of Sarcophagi, Valley of the Queens and evidence of the Late Period, Ptolemaic Period, Roman and Late Antiquity
- Second floor: it is possible to find works from the Predynastic period, the Tomb of the Unknowns, the Tombs of Iti and Neferu, works on the Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom
- Third floor: is dedicated to temporary exhibitions
Here are some of the most important memorabilia.
1 - The Book of the Dead of Luefankh
This very long papyrus (and its translation and publication), dating back to the Ptolemaic period (332-320 BC), has profoundly marked the history of Egyptological studies. It is in fact the model, consisting of 165 chapters, which served as a reference for the interpretation of the so-called "Books of the Dead", or those long papyrus scrolls that were inserted into aristocratic Egyptian tombs. These scrolls were fundamental elements since the formulas reported therein for the ancient Egyptians, they served as a guide for the deceased on his journey to the afterlife.
2 - The Predynastic Mummy
First in the exhibition, it is truly one of the oldest ever. The epoch to which the body of this man dates back to 3500 BC (therefore more than 5.500 years) then Predynastic period: the mummy is in a fetal position inside an oval tank, exposed with its equipment and probably found pit dug in the desert (a technique that served to bring the body of the deceased to natural drying). The moment of conservation of the limbs of the deceased was really fundamental for the ancient Egyptians.
3 - The Gebelein Canvas
It is a very old one painting on linen dating back to 3600-3500 BC found in the locality of Gebelein, located 30 km from Thebes: it could be defined as a very important testimony, since illustrates in images some excerpts from daily life and community of that distant time, with scenes related for example to hunting, dancing and navigation.
4 - The Tomb of the Unknowns
This tomb was found completely intact in Gebelein, 30 km from Luxor, and consisted of a corridor with three rooms, containing sarcophagi, mummies and their respective grave goods. Why was it given this name? No evidence was found regarding the identity of the people buried. The peculiarity of the mummy exhibited here is that the limbs are, in a completely unusual way, bandaged separately and the facial features have been drawn on the bandages themselves (instead of being reconstructed on a mask as tradition required).
5 - The Ballerina's Ostrakon
The site where it was found is Deir el Medina and dates back to the New Kingdom: the place where it comes from is the same from which most of all the ostraka of the period come from. But what are ostraka? It is about fragments of pottery or stone used in ancient times as a support for drawing or writing; in our example this ostrakon is a very precious piece of the Turin collection because it is a valid testimony of the artistic ability of the Egyptians.
The subject on the limestone splinter is extremely interesting, there is in fact depicted an acrobat dancer in motion, an absolutely unusual theme in this time and which breaks the traditional canons dictated by the more known art of royal tombs.
6 - The Chapel of Maia
Right in the vicinity of the tomb of Kha, the Chapel of Maia was discovered in the necropolis of Deir el Medina: in 1906, at the time of their discovery, the dry tempera paintings were removed together with the original plaster with the "tear" technique and located in Turin. These are testimony to the strong belief of the Egyptian people in the afterlife.
7 - The Tomb of Kha and Merit
Found in 1905 near Deir el-Medina, it is undoubtedly one of the most famous Egyptian tombs; at the time of its discovery it returned a very rich set including beds, chairs, caskets, statuettes, vases and food, and wooden sarcophagi with the mummies of Kha, chief architect in the service of the pharaoh Amenhotep III, and his wife Merit.
The peculiarity of this tomb is that, when it was found, everything was in the identical position in which it was placed 3400 years earlier, moreover the spectacle of the sarcophagi is truly unique: that of Merit is double, while that of her husband Kha is triple. The black case found contained in turn another black sarcophagus decorated with fabulous gold inserts, inside which was finally a third and last wooden sarcophagus (which remained unharmed over the centuries) covered with entirely gilded stucco.
8 - The statues in the Gallery of the Kings
In this part of the museum you will find two huge sandstone sphinxes probably daughters of the period between 1292 and 1250 BC: you will also admire the famous statue of Ramses II that Champillion (famous French archaeologist) called "The Apollo of the Belvedere of Egyptian art", famous for being the symbol of the museum in the world. Here you can also find the representations of some mythological figures of Egyptian mythology, such as that of the goddess Sekhmet with a woman's body and a lion's head.
9 - The statue of Uahka
Dating back to the year 1760 BC, it is one of the oldest and most important statues, it was found in the tomb of the governor Uahka in Qaw el-Kebir and constitutes a very unique example of private sculpture represented in an extremely regal way not only for size but also for posture.
Hours and prices
The ticket office is active up to one hour before the closing of the museum, while as regards holidays in general, the opening and closing times as well as closing days for holidays are published periodically well in advance on the Museum website.
- Monday from 9:00 to 14:00 and from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 18:30
- Best time to avoid queues: just before opening
- 15,00 € per person
- Reductions: € 11,00 from 15 to 18 years and journalists / € 1,00 from 6 to 14 years and school groups from 6 to 14 years + n ° 2 accompanying teachers (elementary, middle school) / € 4,00 per person for school groups + 2 accompanying teachers (high schools)
- Free: children up to 5 years old, disabled and holders of the Torino Piemonte or Torino Piemonte Card subscription)
Online tickets and guided tours
Useful tips for visiting the attraction
- Get up early: the ideal would be to reach the entrance by 08:30
- Buy the city card: if you are interested in visiting other museums or attractions in the city, you can purchase the Torino Piemonte Museum Subscription or the Torino Piemonte Card
- Priority ticket: buy the ticket with priority entrance to avoid the endless queues. More info: Egyptian Museum of Turin: fast access and tourist bus
- Watch out for restrictions: it is not possible to access this museum with any type of backpack, there is a paid cloakroom inside
- Minimum time: we advise you to consider a minimum of 2 hours time for the visit
Where is it and how to get there
This magnificent museum, housed inside the Palace of the Academy of Sciences, is located exactly in the center, therefore well served by public transport. The only access is in Via Accademia delle Scienze.
- On foot: a few steps from the Royal Palace and all the other historical and cultural attractions in the area - Get directions
- By bus: from Porta Susa railway station 13 minutes using lines 72 and 56 with tram line 13
- By metro: the Porta Nuova stop is the closest to the Museum and is a 10-minute walk away
Historical notes and curiosities: what to know in brief
The museum records around 500.000 visitors annually. These numbers show us that everything kept inside the museum holds an inestimable value that has arrived unharmed to the present day.
As for its origins, it was founded in the distant 1824, at the time of Carlo Felice di Savoia: he bought the Egyptian works collected by Bernardino Drovetti, a Piedmontese who was actively involved in Napoleon's campaigns. In fact, he established good relations with the viceroy of the time Mohamed Ali and, taking advantage of the acquired position of French consul in Egypt, he exceptionally managed to obtain his approval to transport all the antiquities collected to Europe. a vast heritage of inestimable value characterized by sarcophagi, statues, papyri, mummies and objects of everyday life.
It was thanks to the next Italian Archaeological Mission that, between 1900 and 1935, the collection was further enriched. Inside the museum there are several papyri, in particular there are two very curious ones: the papyrus of the strike, the first documented in history, which occurred during the reign of Ramses III (1186-1153 BC). Of particular importance because it testifies to a revolted situation that spread among the workers of Deir el Medina, the village of the artists who were building and decorating the tombs of the kings near Thebes (today Luxor). The erotic papyrus is also interesting, rich in images and texts with a sexual and satirical background.