The small but excellent Solar Boat Museum is at the site of the pyramids of Giza. It’s on a separate ticket, but it’s more than worth it.
According to the ancient Egyptian beliefs, the sun god, Ra, rode through the sky during the daytime on a solar boat called a mandjet. At night, Ra rode through the underworld on a boat called a meekest.
The solar boat also plays a role in the afterlife, as the soul needs a mode of transportation to get to paradise, and, historians believe, in funeral rituals of the pharaohs. All over Egypt, you’ll see carvings or paintings of this boat at ancient burial sites and tombs.
The boat in the museum at Giza was almost certainly used to bring Khufu’s (Cheops) body down the Nile to be interred in his pyramid.
Khufu’s boat, pictured above, was discovered in 1954 buried in a pit next to where its museum is today. Broken up into over 1200 pieces, archaeologists worked for years to put it back together and to give us what is thought to be the world’s oldest in-tact boat.
The ancient Egyptians buried the boat in an air-tight chamber to prevent it from decay, thus it remained in excellent condition for over 4500 years!