Queen for the Night: An Evening With Cleopatra

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Cleopatra has moved  into the neighborhood…but you don’t have to take her a bundt cake or send the welcome wagon, you just need to take a drive up 1-71 to  the Museum Center of Cincinnati to see a portion of her fabulous palace as Queen, Pharaoh, and last ruler of Egypt

 Cleopatra:The Search For The Last Queen Of Egypt

I had the privilege to attend a  private showing of the exhibit hosted by the Hilti Corporation ( a global construction manufacturer that I happen to work for) with the owner Michael Hilti himself present. And since he is the 224th richest man in the world, it was a very special evening indeed. Mr. Hilti  took the stage to tell the audience why the company got involved in this project. One of the Hilti Foundation  initiatives is to sponsor projects that have lasting effects in the world.There are  companies galore that sponsor Nascar, etc., but this discovery will impact our society for thousands of years to come, a legacy for all. National Geographic  also partnered to organize   the exhibit.

 French archaeologist Franck Goddio, who is  director of the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology started his search in 1992, when he began off of the coast of Egypt. For 14 years he mapped underwater the port of Alexandria out to the bay of Aboukir,  locating where Cleopatra lived and died from 69-30 B.C.

You start the journey into Cleopatra’s world with a short video describing not only this exhibit, but how Zahi Hawass, the  Egyptian Minister of State for Antiquities has also been on the hunt for Mark Antony and Cleopatra’s graves, with help from the dive discoveries, which would be one of the greatest finds along the likes of the discovery of King Tut.

Walking across glass see-through floors , you look down to see artifacts buried in sand as they were originally found, surrounded by soft rolling waves of color and sound to make you feel as if you are under the waters off  the coast of Egypt.  In your hand is an audio device , which guides you through Cleopatra’s world , spoken as if she were your personal guide, seen through her smoky kohl  eyes. Continue through the darkened halls illuminated by only the soft sounds of water, and videos of divers discovering the treasure, and then… roman coins, pots, renderings in bronze of egyptian gods, golden jewelry and statues , two of them in particular wowed me, a king and queen at 16 feet and 11,000 lbs of granite, tower above the guests, as if still watchful of who was entering their sanctum.

Goddio focuses on several ancient cities found. Canopus was a place of worship and decadence,  a love getaway for Cleopatra and her second lover,  Mark Antony. She also had a pretty powerful first lover , Caesar ruler of Rome, who helped her build the Egyptian empire. Heracleion and the original port of Alexandria are also highlighted,which wielded a variety of statues, including one of Cleopatra’s father.

After about an hour and a half  the tour is complete,  noting that this discovery is not over, as Goddio continues to bring up priceless items from the ocean. And of course,  we wind up in the “gateway to Egypt gift shop”, where I almost purchased a  Cleocatra (a stuffed cat with an egyptian robe), and a copy of a piece of papyrus. I stopped myself.

This was a fascinating look into ancient Egypt and Rome, and understanding more about this 17-year old  woman, that for over 30 years, ruled with determination, stealth, and skills that would make any modern-day gal worship her as well!
Cleopatra:The Search For The Last Queen Of Egypt,would invite you to tour through September 5th at the Cincinnati Museum center.  Please check out the links for more detailed information on times,days, and prices.