Last modified on 31 August 2014, at 10:41

Coptic Museum

The Coptic Museum
المتحف القبطي
Established 1908; 107 years ago (1908)
Location Coptic Cairo, Old Cairo Egypt
Type Coptic art
Website Official website

The Coptic Museum is a museum in Coptic Cairo, Egypt with the largest collection of Egyptian Christian artifacts in the world. It was founded by Marcus Simaika Pasha in 1908 to house Coptic antiquities.[1] The museum traces the history of Christianity in Egypt from its beginnings to the present day. It was erected on 8,000 square meters offered by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria under the guardianship of Pope Cyril V.

The Coptic museum houses the world's most important examples of Coptic art.[2]


In 1908, after receiving approval and a number of silver antiquities from Patriarch Cyril V and raising funds by public subscription, Marcus Simaika Pasha built the Coptic Museum and inaugurated it on 14 March 1910.[3] The Coptic community was generous in their support of the museum, donating many vestments, frescoes, and icons. In 1931 the Coptic Museum became a state museum, under the jurisdiction of the Department of Antiquities, and in 1939 the collection of Christian antiquities in the Egyptian Museum was moved there.[4] These were housed in the New Wing, completed in 1944. Because of damage, the Old Wing was closed in 1966, and the entire museum was renovated between 1983 and 1984. The foundations of the museum were strengthened and reinforced between 1986 and 1988, which helped the museum survive the 1992 earthquake.[5] Further renovations took place in 2005-06.[6]

Marcus Simaika Pasha was followed by Dr Togo Mina and then by Dr Pahor Labib, the first to have the title of Director of the Coptic Museum.


Coptic Museum entrance

The Coptic Museum contains the world's largest collection of Coptic artifacts and artwork. Coptic monuments display a rich mixture of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman traditions,[7] linking ancient and Islamic Egypt.[8] The objects are grouped into different mediums, such as stonework, woodwork, metalwork, textiles and manuscripts.[9] The total number of objects on display is about 15,000 objects.[10]

Nag Hammadi LibraryEdit

The Coptic Museum also houses a corpus of 1,200 Nag Hammadi manuscripts in a library open to specialist researchers only.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Coptic Museum brief history
  2. ^ Lastminute
  3. ^ Gabra, Gawdat and Marianne Eaton-Krauss. The Illustrated Guide to the Coptic Museum, 17.
  4. ^ Zaki, Isis. "History of the Coptic Museum."
  5. ^ Gabra, Gawdat and Marianne Eaton-Krauss. The Illustrated Guide to the Coptic Museum, 21.
  6. ^ Kamil 1990, 2006
  7. ^ tour egypt
  8. ^ sacred destinations
  9. ^ Kamil 1990, p. 93
  10. ^ Daily star Egypt
  11. ^ Nag Hammadi Library

External linksEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Kamil, Jill (1990). Coptic Egypt: History and a Guide (2nd ed. ed.). Cairo: American University in Cairo. ISBN 977-424-242-4. 
  • Meinardus, Otto F. A. (1999). Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity (2nd ed. ed.). Cairo: American University in Cairo. ISBN 977-424-511-3. 
  • Simaika, Samir M. (2010). Markus Pasha Simaika. His life and times. (1st ed.) Cairo: Farid Atiya Press.

Coordinates: 30°00′22″N 31°13′52″E / 30.006°N 31.231°E / 30.006; 31.231