Photographers of the world, celebrate! Soon you can once again go snap-happy inside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
It has been a decade since photography was allowed inside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Instead you have been required to leave your camera at a check-in kiosk near the entrance, in return for a numbered tag.
In around 2005 the Museum banned photography outright after too many people were found flaunting the 'no flash' rule. And of course some have long suspected it was also a ploy to force visitors to buy their gift shop books and postcards.
With so many wonders inside the Egyptian Museum, this has been incredibly frustrating; especially so since many of the great museums of the world allow no-flash photography quite happily.
So the Minister of Antiquities delivered some truly good news this week when he announced that, if you are lucky enough to be there, photography will again be allowed inside the museum throughout the Christmas festive season; from December 1, 2015 to January 7, 2016.
This photo features the Museum's central gallery, dominated at the far end by a colossal statue group of King Amenhotep III, his wife Tiye and three of their daughters. It has been the centrepiece of the museum's collection ever since the Museum opened in 1902.
The small black pyramid-shaped object in the foreground is the capstone of the 'Black Pyramid' of the 12th Dynasty's King Amenemhat III. It was found in the debris of his giant mud-brick pyramid at Dahshur in 1900. It's inscription carries the wish that "... the face of the king be opened so that he may see the Lord of the Horizon [Horakhty] when he crosses the sky. May he cause the king to shine as a god."
The Egyptian Museum isn't the most brilliantly-lit museum in the world, and our friend Horakhty sometimes has trouble forcing some rays inside, but, as you can see, if you hold your camera steadily enough, you can achieve great results.
Of course the 'no-flash' rule will be enforced. Hopefully, if everyone behaves, the temporary photography-friendly situation might become a more permanent situation. Now THAT would be a great Christmas present.
Photo: Sandro Vannini