Founded in 1858 by French archaeologist Auguste Mariette (whose tomb is in the museum's garden), the giant salmon-colored building was built in 1902 under Khedive Abbas II Helmi. Housing one of the world's greatest collections of Egyptian artifacts, it boasts more than 136,000 artifacts from every period of pre-Islamic Egyptian history. It would be impossible to see everything in one go (allowing 60 seconds at each exhibit it would take nine months to see them all), so it is best to plan several visits if time allows. The exhibits on the ground floor are arranged more or less chronologically, running clockwise with an eclectic sample of pharaonic highlights in the atrium. Don't miss the highly-lauded Amarna collection tucked away at the back. Upstairs are priceless treasures from the Tomb of Tutankhamun, the museum's crowning glory. Also on the top floor is the Mummy Room, which reopened in 1994 after years of controversy and contains the mummies of Egypt's mightiest Pharaohs.