Museo Egizio, Turin
Egyptian Museum in Turin (Museo Egizio) is one of the main attractions of the city. It is entirely devoted to the culture and traditions of ancient Egypt. This museum is the first in the world of its kind. For a long time it remained the largest, but now the museum in Cairo is on the first place. And in Europe, only the collections in Berlin and the Louvre can compete with the Turin Museum.
History of the museum
The first antiquity from Egypt appeared in Turin in 1630. It was part of the altar for sacrifices, presumably from the Roman temple of Isis, from the beginning of the 1st century. In 1753, Duke Charles Emmanuel III saw this object, after which he was obsessed with the idea of exploring Egypt. In 1757, he instructed the professor of botany Vitaliano Donati to go to Egypt and collect some things that could shed light on the origin of the altar. The scientist returned in 1759 with a small collection, which was presented at an exhibition of the Royal University in the same year. This was the beginning of Egyptology in Turin.
In the early 19th century, Europe was covered by a real wave of Egyptianism. At that time, Napoleon's consul in Alexandria, Bernardino Drovetti, assembled an impressive collection of different objects, collected by him with legal and not very methods. He was a native of Piedmont, and in 1824 sold his collection (5,268 items) to King Charles Felix of Sardinia for 400,000 lire. Then the monarch also created the "Royal Museum of Egyptian Antiquities". At first it was located in the Palazzo Madama, but in 1865 it was moved to the Palace of the Academy of Sciences.
Until the end of the 19th century, scientists from Italy in the East were actively digging and enriching the museum's collections. Thanks to active work before the Second World War, the museum had about 30,000 exhibits. The last significant acquisition of the museum was a small temple of Ellesyia, donated by Egypt for participating in the rescue of Nubia monuments in the construction of the Aswan Dam.
In 2004, the restoration of the museum began. In 2014 the Sabauda Gallery, which for many years was a neighbor of the museum, moved closer to the Royal Palace. And in 2015 the renovated museum opened its doors for visitors again. And a little earlier, in 2013, the famous London edition of "The Times" included it in the list of the 50 best museums in the world.
Exposition of the museum
Today the Egyptian Museum in Turin completely occupies the Palace of the Academy of Sciences – 4 floors. They hold the exhibition areas of 60,000 square meters. The total number of copies of one of the world's largest collections of Egyptian antiquities reaches 37,000 pieces. Most of them are stored in warehouses, in some cases for conservative purposes, in others, because they are of only scientific interest and are subject to research, the results of which are regularly published.
About 3,300 exhibits are on display in public. The most important of them are the tombs of the royal architect Kha and his wife Merit, the temple of Ellesyia, the bronze plaque from the altar of the temple of Isis, the reliefs of Pharaoh Djoser, as well as the statues of the goddesses Isis and Sakhmet, the statue of Pharaoh Ramesses II and objects from the tomb of Queen Nefertiti. Among the rest of the exposition, there are several interesting papyri.
- Turin papyrus map. This is the oldest preserved geographic map in the world. The canvas has a length of 280 cm and a width of 41 cm.
- Turin royal papyrus. It is a document that captures in itself the whole successive tree of the rulers of ancient Egypt. Its length is 170 cm, and it consists of a large number of fragments of different sizes (up to 1 cm long).
- Turin erotic papyrus. A curious specimen was exhibited only in the second half of the 20th century. Before that, it was gathering dust in warehouses, as the Catholic Church did not approve of such exhibits. Papyrus has 27 illustrations mostly of an erotic nature, but there are also satirical images.
Facts and legends
There is a rather ambiguous exhibit in the museum. It is a copy of the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, exhibited in the visitors' hall. Two other versions of religious texts are hidden in warehouses. According to many people, this document exudes negative energy, so the museum director regularly receives requests and demands to hide dangerous text away from human eyes.
Many people cannot understand why did the King of Savoy have the idea of creating a museum of Egyptian antiquities. Some people that love to build conspiracy theories assure that there is a mystical connection between Turin and ancient Egypt. According to legend, once upon a time the son of the Egyptian sun god Ra, Prince Rahotep stole his father's chariot, which later fell from heaven to earth. It is said that its fall occurred in the place where the Fountain of the Months is now installed. And later the Romans founded the colony Augusta Taurinorum in the same place, and now Turin stands in this place.
How to get there
Museo Egizio is located in the historic center of Turin, on Via Accademia delle Scienze, 6. Almost next door there is one of the most important city squares, San Carlo. And from all sides the museum is surrounded by old quarters with a lot of historical noble residences. In 3 minutes walk, on the Piazza Castello, there is a public transport stop Castello. Trams № 7, 13, 15 and buses № 13N, 55, 56, 3904, 3991, N04, N10, S04, W01, W15, W60 go to it.
Opening hours: Monday from 9:00 to 14:00, Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 18:30. The ticket office closes an hour earlier. Phone numbers (+39) 011 44 06903, (+39) 011 5617776.
Admission: the price of the full ticket is 15 euros, with a discount (adolescents (15-18), journalists) – 11 euros. The ticket price for children (6-14) – 1 euro. For children under 6 years and people with disabilities – admission is free. Data of May 2018.