The Wadi El Gedid Museum
The Supreme Council of Antiquities established the Museum of El Wadi El Gedid to display the historical treasures of the area. It is located in the New Valley in Egypt. The museum consists of three floors: a ground floor, and two upper floors. The ground floor has a large foyer that opens onto the second and third floors. The main foyer has two halls to the right and left hand sides that have the most important displays of the museum.
The most remarkable displays of El Wadi El Gedid Museum include some plaster masks that date back to the Greco-Roman period, some statues of the Sphinx, and a statue of the ancient Egyptian god Horus.
Displays From The Pharaonic Period
Due to the importance that El Wadi El Gedid held during the Pharaonic period of Egyptian history, the Museum of El Wadi El Gedid has some of the most remarkable displays dating back to then. The Pharaonic displays of El Wadi El Gedid Museum include a collection of knives and scarper that date to the pre-dynastic period and a large collection of containers and vessels of several sizes, shapes, and uses that all date back to the Old Kingdom.
There is also a notable collection of red pottery that was famous during the Old Kingdom period in El Wadi El Gedid in general and in El Kharga in particular. Some portraits and motifs were gathered from many Pharaonic Temples and historical sites from all around El Wadi El Gedid like the Temple of Hibis, the Temple of Nadura, and the Temple of Ghweita. The Pharaonic displays of El Wadi El Gedid include wonderful graffiti that were transferred from historical sites from all around the governorate, especially the one made of mortar portraying life in an oasis in ancient times that is painted in a remarkable dark red color.
Displays From The Greco-Roman Period
The Romans, the same as many other dynasties that ruled over Egypt, gave special attention to El Wadi El Gedid. They did so because it is one of the important gates and defensive lines of the land around the Nile. The displays of the Greco-Roman period of El Wadi El Gedid Museum include a wonderful collection of masks, pieces of coffins, and some examples of cartonnage. There are also some complete coffins that are richly decorated with colored ornaments and different shapes.
There are many containers, vessels, and cups made out of pottery from different sizes and shapes and date back to the Roman period, a collection of jewelry made out of gems, precious stones, and a selection of statues of gods and goddesses that were made out of wood. The same as the Pharaonic displays of El Wadi El Gedid Museum, the Greco-Roman collection also contains some notable wall paintings and carvings especially the notable one portraying the god Amun, the king of the gods in ancient Egypt.
Displays From The Coptic And Islamic Periods
Due to the fact that the Egyptian Copts resorted to the area of El Wadi El Gedid after the injustice they have been exposed to by the Roman Emperors in the early Christian days in Egypt and because Muslims gave special attention to the region of Southern Egypt and specifically to El Wadi El Gedid when they took control of Egypt. The Coptic and Islamic collection of this museum is interesting and noteworthy.
The Coptic collection of El Wadi El Gedid Museum includes a large number of Coptic icons, copper and bronze crosses, colored portrays of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and many other Christian saints, a number of wooden objects, and some rare Coptic manuscripts. On the other hand, the Islamic collection has many distinctive lamps that were used to light up the mosques in the old days, Quran inscriptions written on wood and paper, a large collection of pottery and containers, and some collections of weapons that were used during the Islamic period.
The Museum of El Wadi El Gedid is among the most important highlights of the governorate and it illustrates the history of the whole region. Visiting the museum is highly recommended for any tourists who love arts and Egyptian history.
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About Al Wadi El Gedid
The governorate of Al Wadi El Gedid, or the New Valley, lies in the South Western section of Egypt in the west bank of the River Nile. It is situated inside the Western Desert of the land of the Pharaohs.
Five governorates are located on the Eastern borders of Al Wadi El Gedid; El Minya, Asyut, Sohag, and Aswan. Marsa Matrouh and the Bahariya Oasis lie to its north, Libya to its west, and Sudan to its south.
The surface area of the governorate of El Wadi El Gedid is huge is it is around 485,000 square kilometers, which is around 48% of the total surface area of Egypt and 67% of the total surface area of the Western Desert.
The surface area of El Wadi El Gedid consists mainly of three depressions located 200 to 300 kilometers away from the River Nile and three oases occupies this area: El Kharga, El Dakhla, and El Farafra. The administrative capital of the governorate of El Wadi El Gedid is the city of El Kharga, located 600 kilometers to the South of Cairo and 222 kilometers to the south of Asyut. Situated 198 kilometers to the west of El Kharga, there is the city of Mut, the capital of Al Dakhla, and 300 kilometers away from Mut, there is the city of El Farafra.
During the Pharaonic era, the two depressions of El Dakhla and El Kharga were part of one administration unit called “Thana” in Abydos in the governorate of Sohag, and this region had one ruler.
El Wadi El Gedid was significant in ancient times because it was the first defensive line of Egypt against attacks from the Nubians from the south and the Libyans from the east. This was why the Pharaohs and kings of ancient Egypt made sure that El Wadi El Gedid was stable and that its inhabitants enjoyed good living conditions.
The ruins and establishments of the Pharaohs in the governorate of El Wadi El Gedid still remain in the historical site of Balat and the Temple of Hibis in the Kharga Oasis. Many excavation missions are taking place in the governorate of El Wadi El Gedid, discovering more and more of the secrets and antiquities of ancient Egypt.
The scientific discoveries and research that were carried out in the governorate of Al Wadi El Gedid proved that this area of Egypt greatly flourished during the reign of the 6th dynasty in 2420 B.C. When Cambyses of Persia conquered Egypt in the 6th century BC, he sent a huge army from Thebes to the Siwa Oasis to destroy the Temple of Amun. The soldiers of Cambyses left Thebes and went in the direction of the Siwa Oasis, and when they reached the Kharga Oasis, they rested there for a few days.
Afterward, the army of Cambyses left El Kharga, but none of them was able to reach Siwa or even return to the Kharga Oasis a mystery that scientists are still searching for its reason until today. This was why the Persian Emperor of Egypt, Dara, the successor of Cambyses, constructed the temple of Hibis to please the people of El Kharga and erase any bad memories that Cambyses had left.
During the Ptolemaic period in Egypt, they gave special attention to the area of El Wadi El Gedid, and the agriculture of the region greatly developed during this period. They have also constructed a remarkable structure like the temple of Ghweita located to the South of El Kharga today.
When the Romans came to govern Egypt, they made use of the fertile lands of the area of El Wadi El Gedid, and they benefited from the water wells there to increase the area of the cultivated lands. Commercial activities also flourished a lot during this period in the trading routes between Egypt, Nubia, and Sudan.
When Christianity was spread in Egypt, and the Roman Emperors who were ruling the country started prosecuting the Egyptian Copts in the 3rd and the 4th centuries A.D., they moved to the area of El Wadi El Gedid in the Western Desert, cultivated the land there, and lived safely in this section of Egypt. The most impressive historical site that the Copts have left in the Western Desert in the governorate of El Wadi El Gedid was the historical necropolis of El Bagwat which was built in the 5th and 6th centuries.