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Solar Boat Museum

The Solar Boat Museum – Funeral Boat of Cheops

The Solar Boat Museum: For the ancient Egyptians, the perpetual cycle of the arrival and setting of the Sun is comparable to the cycle of life and death. Thus, every morning the Sun rises in the East, and ages in the West, disappearing later in the kingdom of the dead, the Duat. The solar god RA makes this daily journey on board a boat called Mindjet or the Solar Boat.

It is understandable why they use a boat to represent this journey because for the ancient Egyptian people the best way of communication and speed was thanks to the Nile River. It is for this reason that the ancient Egyptians took this relationship to seek eternity and it was a very important point in the burial.

For this point, we must remember that the main God of the ancient Egyptians during the history of the ancient civilization was Ra, whom the Egyptians venerated and who was represented with the solar disk.

The ancient Egyptians believed that as the sun god, Ra’s role was to navigate through the heavens during the day. At the end of the day, the ship was called “Semektet”, which means “to weaken”.

At the end of the day, it was believed that Ra died (swallowed by Nut) and sailed to the underworld, leaving the moon in its place to light up the world. Ra was reborn at dawn the next day. During his journey through the heavens during the day, he fought with his main enemy, an evil serpent called Apep, or also, The Lord of Chaos.

In some stories, Ra, in the form of a cat named Mau, defeats the evil snake, Apep. This is part of the reason why cats are so revered in Egypt.

Location of the Solar Boat Museum:

The Solar Boat Museum is located south of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, on the Giza plateau, just outside Cairo, where the desert begins. The site is where the discovery of this important piece was originally made,

Who built the Solar Boat?

Possibly it was built, by anonymous carpenters, in honor of the Pharaoh Cheops, around 2500 BC.

The reason for its construction:

The history and function of the boat are not known precisely, although it is known that the solar boats were ritual vessels that symbolized the cycle of life and death by the passage of the sun through the sky.

However, this boat not only has a symbolic meaning, as it contains signs that indicate that it was used on water, and it is possible that the funeral boat carried the embalmed body of the Pharaoh of Memphis, the capital of the kingdom, to the Giza necropolis via the Nile, or that Cheops used it as a “pilgrimage boat” to visit sacred sites and was therefore buried next to his tomb so that it could be used in life after death.

According to several specialists, this solar boat has the characteristics of a high sea craft, with a raised brow, which allowed it to surpass the waves of the sea.


The solar boat was discovered by Kamal El-Mallah in 1954 while excavating on the south side of the pyramid of Cheops. The boat, made of cedarwood, was dismantled into 1,224 pieces, making it possible to reconstruct it, which was carried out for more than ten years on the same site where it was discovered.

In 982, the boat has been exhibited in a museum built specifically to house it and adjusted to its dimensions, which are 43.4 meters long, 5.6 meters wide, and 1.5 meters deep, and which is located in the same place where the boat was restored. The museum has strict humidity control, to preserve the treasure it keeps inside.

It is important to mention that this solar boat is only one of the five buried around the pyramid of Cheops and that so far another five have been discovered in the vicinity of the pyramid of Chephren.

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About the author

Magdy Fattouh (Migo) is a creative content marketer and expert in search engines for over 5 years. He manifests his passion in his role as a Creative Content Writer especially in travel where he strives to evoke a strong sense of place in his write-ups.
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