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Coptic Museum

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Founded in 1908, this museum houses Coptic art from the early days of Christianity in Egypt to early Islam. It is a beautiful place, as is the case for elaborate wood carving in all the galleries as well as the treasures they contain. This includes sculpture that shows a clear continuity from the Ptolemaic period, rich textiles and the full walls of the monastery's murals.

Funerary paintings from the second to the fifth centuries of Kom Abu Belo clearly show the transition between Pharaonic art and Coptic art, where the first crosses such as the ankh, the key to life. Sculptures in the fourth and fifth centuries alike represent this transformation, as Christian symbols were influenced by Greco-Roman myths as well as ancient Pharaonic themes. Aphrodite proposes out of the water on the seashells of rebirth through water baptism. Look for the wonderful work of the seventh and eighth centuries of three mice asking for a cat for peace. In Egypt, the depiction of animals that act like humans dates back to 1500 BC.

Upstairs are two large rooms with impressive Coptic textiles from the fourth to seventh century, woven and embroidered, and a room containing Nag Hammadi manuscripts, the primary source of Gnosticism, and the world's oldest book of Psalms, David's Psalms, with two original wooden covers.