Solar Boat of Cheops

Posted On : 26/02/2023 Kate Clark 50
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Egypt is a land filled with ancient temples, ruins, tombs and historical attractions from the Ancient Egyptian era to see. All of these are like testimonials of the monumental feats of this authentic civilization. One of the rarely mentioned gems of Egyptian archeology is the Khufu Ship Museum, also known as the Cheops Solar Boat Museum.

The Cheops Ship Museum is not only home to the famous Cheops Ship, but also enjoys a unique location next to the Cheops Pyramid, the largest of the three Pyramids at Giza. 

Although a separate museum at a small extra cost, it is worth a visit for its size, history and reconstruction. Then take us on a journey through time to discover the well-kept secrets of Khufu's ship and Khufu's ship museum.

The Ancient Egyptian sun boats were large vessels made of cedar wood, which was imported from Lebanon, built 5,000 years ago around 2800 BC and were used in religious rituals during the Pharaonic period.

Historians and archaeologists have long debated the exact historical name and purpose of these boats. These boats were probably made to be used in the burial rituals of the king and perhaps some members of his royal family.

Where is the Cheops Ship Museum located?

The Museum is located on the Giza plateau, more precisely to the south of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, just a 30-minute drive from the center of downtown Cairo . The Cheops Ship Museum is located at the entrance to the 3 Pyramids of Giza.

Who built it?

It was founded by Kamal El - Mallakh who was born in Assiut, Egypt on October 26, 1918. He was a dedicated scholar of Egyptology and culture and died in October 1987.

Why was it built?

The museum was built to contain the solar boat of the great king Cheops, discovered by Kamal El Mallakh in 1954. He wanted to build this museum in order to keep the solar boat of the pharaoh Cheops and make it a monument as important as the pyramids.

The building of the museum 

After the discovery of the first Cheops solar boat, the museum had to be established above the hole where the first boat was found. At the same time, the museum had to adapt to the large size of the solar boat.

Furthermore, the museum also had to be equipped with the latest techniques and technologies in order to preserve the solar boat for many generations to come and see the greatness of the ancient Egyptians . For this reason, a complete air conditioning system has been added to the museum to always maintain the right temperature and the right degree of humidity.

The museum consists of three floors to allow visitors to view the boat from three different levels. The solar boat was placed on display in the center of the museum's main hall on the first floor and was placed on a base that was approximately 8 meters higher than the floor. On the ground floor or lower floor of the museum, guests who come from all over the world to see this magnificent piece of ancient architectural art can see the bottom of the boat.

The discovery of the solar boat 

It may come as a surprise, but the discovery of the Khufu ship in 1954 was a discovery, unintentional, by accident. The Khufu vessel is one of two vessels rediscovered by Kamal El-Mallakh and is identified as the world's oldest intact vessel built for King Pharaoh Khufu by the 4th dynasty around 2500 BC.

The solar vessel was discovered in the midst of archaeological excavations carried out in the Giza area during the cleaning process of the Great Pyramids .

After uncovering a large limestone wall and excavating to the bottom 42 pieces of rock were discovered which under them was the solar boat Khufu. The boat is brought to light, but unfortunately it was broken into thousands of pieces.

The boat was found in five pits near the great pyramid of Cheops and meticulously reassembled from 1224 pieces of cedar wood by Egypt's chief restorer, Ahmed Youssef Moustafa, who spent 14 years working to gather the knowledge needed to put the pieces back together and properly rebuild the ship to its former glory. 

He did this work through visits to shipyards in Old Cairo, El Maadi and Alexandria and observation of shipbuilders at work, as well as studying the ancient inscriptions on the tomb walls and the many smaller ship models in the tomb. 

It is believed that the vessel was originally made of twelve hundred pieces of wood, originally held together by sycamore pegs and half-grass ropes. Serving as the centerpiece of the Cheops Ship Museum and measuring 43.6m (143ft) long and 5.9m (19.5ft) wide, the solar ship is on display in all its power and glory.

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By Kate Clark

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