Opened in 1997, the Nubian Museum is a belated, but well-executed, tribute to the culture and influence of Nubia and the Nubian people on the history of Egypt. This ancient culture, every bit as old as that of Ancient Egypt, existed along the banks of the Nile for millennia in the areas we call southern Egypt and northern Sudan today.
It was nearly destroyed by the construction of the High Dam, completely submerging the ancient heartland of Nubia, and over 100,000 people to relocate. The museum houses a collection of artifacts from the Nubia region, which tell the story of the development of civilization in the southern Nile Valley from prehistory all the way through the pharaonic ages, the arrival of Christianity and Islam, and the construction of the dam in the 1960’s.
The preservation of Nubia’s cultural legacy was equally neglected. International organizations came in to move some of the most famous monuments of Nubia to high ground, like the Abu Simbel temples. Others were dismantled and shipped abroad as compensation for aiding this effort. The Dendar Temple that now stands in the New York Metropolitan Museum is one such gifted Nubian monument.
The Nubian Museum was intended to help rectify this injustice. While that may not be possible, especially since it still makes no mention of the consequences of the dam for the Nubian people, it is very effective at telling the story of the region and providing a glimpse of the culture that continues to exist here. Reconstructions of traditional Nubian houses with artwork salvaged from areas that are now underwater are particularly striking.
it would have been the largest obelisk ever carved by the ancient Egyptians. It was completely finished on three sides, but left attached to the bedrock when a flaw in the stone was discovered. Visit to these two sites along with the Nubian Museum make for a great day of activities all located within a small area to minimize walking.
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