grand egyptian museum
Egypt,  Travel

Grand Egyptian Museum: Opening Date in 2023

The Grand Egyptian Museum is under construction with limited tours available. It’s set to open in late 2023. Here’s what you need to know.

The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) is set to become the world’s largest archaeological museum – and the future home of the entire Tutankhamun collection.

It will be an absolute must-see on your Cairo itinerary when it opens with its state-of-the-art exhibits and a collection of some 100,000 artifacts.

Many pieces at GEM will be displayed for the first time ever.

And as a long-time expat in Cairo, I’m so excited there will finally be a well-labelled and organized museum to house all these treasures.

I was lucky enough to get a behind-the-scenes tour at the GEM and I can tell you – it’s going to be spectacular.

grand egyptian museum

grand egyptian museum
The Grand Egyptian Museum under construction, during my behind-the-scenes tour in 2019.

The museum is in Giza right next to the pyramids, which means you’ll be able to easily combine your sightseeing at the plateau with a visit to the GEM. And you’ll be able to visit both with a single ticket.

But for now, the museum is still under construction with a slated opening date in late 2023.

Though it’s already faced numerous delays. It was originally supposed to open in 2020, but construction was delayed because of Covid and other reasons.

GEM is currently offering limited sneak-preview tours and it looks like the late 2023 opening date is very realistic with most of the work complete.

GEM limited tours – are they worth it?

grand egyptian museum

(photo: Djehouty, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons) 

While the museum is still closed, the GEM complex is offering limited tours to “test site readiness and the visitor experience” before the official opening.

What does a limited tour include?

You’ll get access to the Grand Hall with its colossal statue of Ramses II (above), the commercial area with its dozens of restaurants and shops and the outside gardens.

All other areas including the galleries and collections remain closed until the official opening.

So this is basically a tour of the facilities – but not of the Ancient Egyptian artifacts. Tickets for these limited tours are 1,000 EGP for adult non-Egyptian visitors.

In my opinion, it’s not worth it just to see the museum complex and the Ramses statue.

And I especially wouldn’t recommend it if you only have a limited time in Cairo!

Because there’s a lot more to see – including other museums with brilliant collections of Ancient Egyptian artifacts.

Where to go instead

Egyptian Museum

So until the GEM finally opens, you’re better off visiting either the Egyptian Museum (above) in Tahrir Square or the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC).

What’s the difference?

It’s easy to get confused about Cairo’s museums these days. So here’s the rundown:

The Egyptian Museum

museums in cairo

The Egyptian Museum in downtown’s Tahrir Square is focused on Ancient Egypt only. And it still holds the world’s largest collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts.

It’s not as well-organized as the NMEC. It’s older, dustier and far more massive with a collection that dives deep into Ancient Egypt.

But it still has King Tut’s famous gold mask (which will eventually be moved to the GEM in Giza).

So if your priority are Ancient Egyptian artifacts, then this is currently still the best museum in Egypt to see them.

Also: the Egyptian Museum will NOT close once the GEM opens.

The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization

museums in cairo

The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization near Coptic Cairo is a newer museum that gives you an overview of Egyptian history.

Collections span from pre-history through Ancient Egypt and Islamic to modern times.

It’s a glorious crash course to all the epochs that make up Egyptian culture.

And it has the mummies collection and a great smaller hall devoted to Egyptian Textiles.

What to expect at GEM

grand egyptian museum

(photo: courtesy Grand Egyptian Museum)

Once the GEM opens it will be a prime destination for Ancient Egyptian artifacts with in-depth and state-of-the-art exhibits.

The museum cost nearly 1 billion USD with the bulk financed by Japanese loans.

And it’s set to include new displays with virtual reality, a children’s museum and conference center.

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak laid the museum’s foundation stone in 2002. And construction has been ongoing since.

Sited on a massive 480,000-square-meter plot of land, the museum is a mere 2 kilometres from the Giza plateau. And it has stunning views of the pyramids from its enormous glass windows.

The museum’s North and South walls line up with the Great Pyramid of Khufu and the Pyramid of Menkaure. So expect gorgeous views as part of your experience.

King Tut

museums in cairo

GEM will house the entire Tutankhamun collection. And all the 5,000 artifacts found in the tomb of the boy king will be displayed together for the very first time – a century after they were discovered by Howard Carter.

The artifacts include the famous golden masks, sarcophagi, chariots, precious jewelry, statues and furniture.

King Tutankhamun’s chariots were all moved to the GEM in 2018. And numerous other artifacts were brought in from storage and museum in Upper Egypt, Luxor, Fayoum and Alexandria.

The GEM collection

museums in cairo

(photo: Djehouty, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The centerpiece at GEM is a colossal 82-ton statue of Ramses II in the atrium, which is set to house an entire collection of Ancient Egyptian statues.

The granite figure of Ramses II is the atrium’s centerpiece. It was transferred in 2006 from Cairo’s Ramses Square to the museum, then erected inside the atrium.

The statue is so huge that it had to be installed inside the museum while the building was still under construction.

It now stands in an atrium where more large Ancient Egyptian statues will be displayed, safe from the smog and traffic of Ramses Square.

The atrium will soon be filled with limestone, granite and wooden statues of gods, kings and queens and animals that will bring Egypt’s ancient religion to life.

The enormous reconstructed Khufu ship, which once sat beside the Great Pyramid in Giza, will also be exhibited at the GEM. The enormous 42-metre long wooden vessel was built to carry the soul of King Khufu to the afterlife. And it’s a 4,600-year-old marvel of ancient craftsmanship that was relocated to the museum in 2021.

GEM’s other displays are set to include an impressive collection of Ancient Egyptian jewelry like golden necklaces and bracelets studded with lapis lazuli. Jewelry in Ancient Egypt was worn by royals and also placed on tombs to accompany the owners into the afterlife.

Other exhibits will include Ancient Egyptian pottery, weapons, tools used in hunting and everyday life, and papyrus scrolls that include religious texts like the Book of the Dead.


grand egyptian museum

With such an extensive collection, the GEM will offer an unprecedented look into Ancient Egyptian civilization.

Set to bring in some 6 million annual visitors, the museum will also breathe new life into Egypt’s tourism industry.

It will also be a symbolic victory for many Egyptians who’ve had their Ancient Egyptian artifacts looted from their country for decades.

With treasures like the Rosetta Stone still held abroad, the GEM will become a strong counterargument to anyone who claims Egyptians can’t properly care for their own artifacts.

If you’re planning a trip to Egypt soon, then watch this space for the latest news on the GEM opening.

I live in Cairo and I’ll definitely be in line as soon as the museum opens!

I would love to hear from you. Have you visited GEM on a limited tour? What are you most looking forward to when it opens?


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  • Rosalie

    We will be in Cairo from NY October 15 for the day before our tour with archeological paths begins that evening. The tour will visit one of the Egyptian museums at the end of the tour. We were really hoping for the GEM to be open but who knows. Can you suggest how we can spend the late morning and afternoon before our tour group meets for dinner. Thanks

    • Dee

      Hi Rosalie, let’s hope so! In the meantime, I’d recommend a visit to Khan el Khalili (an old medieval souq with lots of historic mosques) and a walk down Moez Street for your late morning/afternoon. Have a great trip!

  • Warren

    Let’s assume that GEM does open in the fall this year but I assume that the bulk of what is now exhibited at the old museum, needs to be transferred to GEM. It must be a well-prepered and delicate operation, thus, requiring a lot of time. So, do you belive that when GEM openes in the fall, all the exhibits will be open to the public at the same time? To your knowledge, will any public transportation link GEM with the Cairo center, not just taxis?

    • Dee

      Hi Warren, the bulk of the collection at the old museum will remain where it is, and the old museum will remain open. They’re only moving a selection of pieces (mainly the King Tut collection) to the new museum. And it looks like that work is mostly done – when I was at the old museum recently, the King Tut exhibits upstairs were largely empty (the famous gold mask is still there however).

      There’s a metro station currently under construction that will link GEM to the city – so you’ll be able to either take an Uber or the metro.

  • Kallyn

    My fingers are crossed. My trip is for Feb 2024. I’ve done a lot of construction projects for my job (though nothing close to this scale) so I know how things can interfere with a projected opening date. I REALLY want to go to this museum.

  • Warren

    Dee: It is very interesting what you wrote about moving only some items from the old museum to GEM. I expected that everything would be transferred from the small and cluttered museum to the new, exceptionally spacious location. I realize that there are a lot of objects stored at the old museum and in other places that — due to the lack of space — have never been exhibited in the old museum. I also think that these objects had to be of a lesser historical or artistic significance if they had not been exhibited. So, the much-expanded Tutankhamen exhibition will be exhibited in GEM, along with less spectacular objects from the old museum’s “basement”. However, the jewels of the old museum, now less cluttered, better organized and exhibited, will be in the same place, forcing us to visit two museums to see it all. Probably it is a simplistic view, so I would appreciate a clearer view from the Nile.

  • Bruce Johne

    Hi there Dee! Bruce here from Crozet, VA. I like reading your posts and comments as well. My wife and I were in Giza in November 2021 for the last “opening” date. Though a bit disappointed, being first time visitors in Egypt, we found plenty to see and do. The Saqarra complex including the Saripium (DO NOT MISS!) Is a short country drive from Giza. Please include us on any updates and/or rumors about the GEM. We’re sitting on the edge waiting as our time is running short as we are in our 70’s. Thank you!!

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