vatican museums museo gregoriano egizio

Opened in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI, the Gregorian Egyptian Museum houses a vast collection of artifacts of ancient Egypt and the Middle East. Much of the artifacts contained in it have been discovered by the Popes in Rome and surroundings because imported from Egypt during the Roman Imperial period. Many of the items on display come from the fact Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli, now a World Heritage Site. The special attention, starting from 800, the Popes have shown in respect of Egypt is due to the significant role that this country has in the Holy Scriptures. The exhibition is divided into nine rooms and contains archaeological finds, by type, dating from between the third millennium BC and second century A.D. The first room is dedicated to the hieroglyphic writing, there are funerary steles, statues and tablets with inscriptions dating back over 2000 years before Christ. Going into the next room you can see some exhibits related to the funeral cult including a mummy wrapped in linen bandages. In the third room the temple was rebuilt dedicated to the god Serapis, which was part of Villa Adriana, here you can see some marble busts of the Egyptian gods. The next room contains other statues in the Egyptian style but carved by skilled imitators in imperial times to decorate temples and other sacred places in Rome. Are original of Thebes and Heliopolis Pharaonic sculptures exhibited in the next room. In the seventh room is a collection of bronze statues donated to Pius XII by a collector. Several other statues are also on display in the hall dedicated to Alexandria and Palmyra, Syrian archaeological site. From Mesopotamia and Syria also come all the findings of the eighth room. The last room of the Gregorian Egyptian Museum is dedicated to the northern part of the Iraq, the ancient land of the Assyrians. There is the collection of John Benni who participated in the archaeological excavations of Nineveh in 1842.

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