Graeco-Roman Museum of Alexandria

Statue of Serapis, the local cult of Alexandria. at alexandria museum

The Graeco-Roman Museum of Alexandria is housed behind a Neo-Classical facade bearing the Greek inscription MOYXEION (mouseion; "museum") are 27 halls of exhibits, primarily classical statues and sarcophagi, and an attractive garden. Notable among the exhibits are many finds from the Temple of Serapis, an important shrine in ancient Alexandria. In Alexandria, Graeco-Roman and Pharaonic religions mingled in the cult of Serapis; the shift from pagan religions to Christianity can also be seen in the exhibits which include mummies, Hellenistic statues, busts of Roman emperors, Tangara figurines, and early Christian antiquities. The museum began in 1892 and features 27 halls filled with Greek and Roman art and artifacts.

The museum contains material found in Alexandria itself, as well as Ptolemaic and Roman objects from the Nile River delta, the Fayyum of Upper Egypt, and Middle Egypt and antiquities from the Pharaonic period from the Alexandria area and the delta. Among the objects in the collection are a cast of the Rosetta Stone (the original was removed to the British Museum) and fine pieces of Hellenistic sculpture, including a large Attic funerary stela of the late 4th century bc. There is a colossal porphyry statue representing an emperor or Jesus Christ, found outside the Attarin Mosque, Alexandria, and believed to be the largest example known in that material. Among the many other objects in the collection are terra-cottas, Tanagra figurines, capitals, pottery, silver objects, and coins.

Its vast collection, gathered together over these hundred years, is the product of donations from wealthy Alexandrians as well as of excavations led by successive directors of the institution, both within the town and in its environs. Cer¬tain other objects have come from the Organization of Antiquities at Cairo (particularly those of the Pharaonic period) and from various digs undertaken at the be¬ginning of the century in The Fayoum and at Benhasa (Middle Egypt). Housed within an historic building (back cover) whose beautiful neo-classical facade of six col¬umns and pediment bears the large Greek inscription, ‘MOYSEION’, the Museum consists of 27 halls and an attractive garden, which offer an excellent introduction to the Greek and Roman art of Egypt.

The museum's layout is quite attractive, but things in here may appear inferior and less interesting to what you find in the National Museum in Cairo. But if you make an effort, the exhibits here cast a light on a part of Egyptian history which is fascinating by its own respect. The museum reflects Alexandria's importance as the scene of the Serapis cult. This cult, a creation by Ptolemy 1, intended to merge Egyptian and Greek religion. Serapis was a god married to the Egyptian goddess Isis and with qualities from Zeus and Poseidon.

However whole of the museum is a great center of art collection but still some of the halls of the museum are the most visited ones. Hall number 3 of the museum has magnificent collection of metal work particularly silver and gold work. The main attraction of this room is the rare collection of varied ancient jewelry.
Graeco-Roman Museum of Alexandria
Graeco-Roman Museum of Alexandria
Mathaf al Romani St, 21521 Alexandria, Egypt
Central Zone
Phone: 03/4865820, 03/4876434

Last Updated on Sunday 16th January 2011