Ramses in Sydney

The Australian Museum in Sydney is set to be the fourth stop on the Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs exhibition tour, Nevine El-Aref reports

In November the international touring exhibition “Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs” will open at the Australian Museum in Sydney where visitors can explore the life and accomplishments of one of the most remarkable and celebrated rulers of ancient history, King Ramses II, dubbed Ramses the Great, the third pharaoh of the 19th dynasty – regarded as the mightiest pharaoh of the New Kingdom, Egypt’s Golden Age, when it had a wealthy and powerful empire – who ruled the country for nearly 67 years.

The exhibition features an interactive museum experience as well as bringing a collection of 181 dazzling objects to the city, many of which are newly discovered and have never left Egypt before. The exhibition features exquisite sculpture, precious gold treasures, sarcophagi, magnificent jewellery and amulets. Carefully selected from museums and historical sites across Egypt, these objects offer a captivating glimpse into the life and achievements of Ramses II.

Alongside the exhibits, visitors can enjoy state-of-the-art multimedia reproductions that vividly depict the opulence and splendour of ancient Egyptian civilisation. “Ramses and Nefertari: Journey to Osiris,” installed in an adjacent gallery, is a virtual reality tour of King Ramses II’s magnificent monuments, such as the temples of Abu Simbel and Nefertari’s Tomb. Drone photography, immersive video settings, multimedia productions, and photomurals are used to recreate such events as the Battle of Kadesh, the largest chariot battle ever fought. 

“Egyptian treasures have dazzled the world for centuries,” said Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. He added that mystery surrounds Egypt’s origins, religions and monumental architecture, many of which were built during the reign of Ramses II. “This ability to transcend time has ensured the Egyptians have an eternal place in history, and I invite visitors to discover for themselves why Ramses II is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated and most powerful pharaoh of all time.”

Hon John Graham, New South Wales (NSW) Minister for Arts, Music, Night-time Economy, Jobs, and Tourism, emphasised that Sydney is the exhibition’s exclusive host city in the region, a development made possible by funding from the NSW government.

“Egypt was once among the most influential civilisations at the centre of the ancient world, and we are delighted that some of the greatest Egyptian treasures are coming to Sydney with this magnificent exhibition, which is set to inspire a new generation of young Australian Egyptologists,” Graham remarked. He encouraged all Australians to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Kim McKay, Director and CEO of the Australian Museum, expressed her excitement about showcasing historical objects of exceptional significance and astonishing beauty. “Ancient Egypt holds intrigue and fascination for all age groups, and I am confident that Ramses and The Gold of the Pharaohs in Sydney will introduce the mystery of the pharaohs to new generations of locals and visitors alike.”

CEO John Norman of World Heritage Exhibitions, which designed the exhibition, reported that “Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs” has been breaking attendance records worldwide. “Our team has created an extraordinary experience to celebrate the greatest Pharaoh in Egypt’s history, and the response from people has exceeded our highest expectations. We are thrilled to bring the exhibition to Sydney, and we believe Australians will be equally amazed.”

The exhibition’s international tour began in November 2021 in Houston, Texas. It later travelled to San Fransisco, and is currently captivating audiences in Paris.

The exhibition reveals the fabulous wealth of the pharaohs, the astonishing skill of ancient Egyptian tomb builders, and the superb workmanship of Egyptian artists. It also includes recently discovered animal mummies, including those of small cats, lion cubs, and a mongoose, from the Saqqara Necropolis, on view for the first time, as well as treasures discovered in the royal tombs in Dahshur and Tanis, many of which had never travelled before, as well as precious objects from several other periods of Egyptian history, much of it from intact royal tombs of the Middle Kingdom and the 21st and 22nd dynasties, Egypt’s Third Intermediate Period.

“This is an opportunity to experience ancient Egypt like never before,” said Norman, adding that visitors will not only see priceless historical artifacts, but will also be transported to Egyptian temples in an electrifying virtual reality journey across the sands of the Sahara. “We are proud… to bring these immersive, one-of-a-kind experiences to visitors across the globe.”