The Postal Museum
The Story of the Post Museum
The museum is located at Al-Ataba Square in Central Cairo, on the second floor of the Central Post Office. The museum was established in February 1934 and it was opened for the public in January 1940. The Post Authority developed and expanded the museum into a vivid record of the development of postal service in Egypt over the years. The museum contains a collection of artifacts, pictures and documents illustrating the ways in which messages have been delivered within Egypt over the centuries.
The museum's area is 543 square meters and it has more than 1254 exhibits in its ten different sections which are: a historical section, a section for postal equipment, a third for stamps, a fourth for postal buildings, a fifth for transport, a sixth for costumes, a seventh for maps and statistics, an eighth for air mail, a ninth for conferences and lastly the tenth for foreign mail.
Postal services flourished in Egypt since the Pharaonic Old and Middle kingdoms and have been a paradigm of precision .
Postal Services in the Pharaonic Age:
Pharaonic inscriptions on monuments indicate that there was kings and rulers of neighboring countries with whom Egypt maintained political and trade relations.
The first document indicating the use of post dates back to 2000 years BC. It is a will sent by a scribe to his son emphasizing the importance of writing and the bright future of a scribe in government posts.
The group of messages found in Tel Al A'marna in northern Upper Egypt which were in cuneiform writing are the oldest. They are a record of political correspondence conveyed by Aminophis (1364 BC) from Thebes to "Akhotaton" (Al A'marna) the new capital. These types of clay letters were also exchanged between Aminophis III and IV (1405-1352BC), and between Pharoahs and Hittite, Assyrian, Babylonian and Sicilian kings.
Most probably, mail during Pharaonic ages was distributed by pedestrian postmen who traveled along the banks of the Nile and followed the paths of caravans and armies when conveying messages abroad.
Roman and Ptolemic Post
Historians agree that Persians were the first to adopt a postal system in their country. That system was developed by the Ptolemies who had two categories:
Express post: which carried the letters of kings, ministers and top officials by men on horseback.
Ordinary post: for carrying letters of government employees and ordinary people by pedestrian postmen and beasts of burden
This system was adopted in Egypt through the Roman era and the early days of the Islamic era.
Postal Services from the Arab conquest till the modern age
The Caliphate Mo'awia Bin Abi Sufian is said to be the first to introduce a postal system during Islamic rule. Messages were carried by horses which were changed at designated stops equally apart. This was called "express post". Ordinary post was carried by camels through the same stops where there were government servants whose job was to prepare fresh animals for the next leg.
The most important mail line in Egypt was the one linking Lower Egypt to Syria. When Egypt became independent from the Caliphate rule, the new rulers abolished the postal system of the Caliphs and established a special system in which pedestrian postmen carried mail.
Postal services were carried out by the tax collecting office and the person change was called "Al Dowidar" or the " Prince of the Mail". He had an assistant called "Katib Al Sir" who distributed the mail personally. The postmen carried a brass badge about the size of one's palm engraved on one side, "There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is His Prophet". The other side of the badge has these words: "His Majesty the Sultan, King of the World, Sultan of Islam and Muslims, The Son of the Martyr Sultan." This brass badge was attached to a scarf round the postman's neck to distinguish him as such.
Khedive Ismail (1863-1879), the ruler of Egypt, was convinced that the postal service is a public utility that should be carried out only by the government. Thus he negotiated the purchase of the private European post company which he bought on October 29,1864. The government started work at this new administration on January 1,1865 which is the birth date of the Egyptian Post Department. All foreign seals were replaced by others bearing the Egyptian Postal Department name. The department continued to have its headquarters in the city of Alexandria because of the city's trade activities. In January 1866 the first group of Egyptian stamps were printed in seven categories in Genoa, Italy, for the Egyptian government .
The Post Department was affiliated to the Ministry of Finance in 1865. In 1875 it was transferred to the Ministry of Justice and a special building was established for it in 1882 in Alexandria. In 1865, due to the expansion of trade between Egypt and the world, a navigation line (The Khedive Company) was established to transport goods and correspondence to Mediterranean and Red Sea ports. Khedive Ismail opened post offices to serve merchants' transactions.
Egyptian post offices were opened in:
Countries east of the Mediterranean Sea.
Countries bordering the Red Sea.
In 1919, a new administration for communications was established during king Fouad's reign (1917-1935) comprising railways, telephone, telegram and postal services in addition to roads and bridges. In 1931 the Postal Department was transferred to Cairo at its present location at A1-Ataba Square, which is one of the oldest in Cairo.
The Story of the Post Museum
The museum was established in February 1934.
It was opened for the public in January 1940.
The Post Authority developed and expanded the museum into a vivid record of the development of postal service in Egypt over the years.
The museum is located at Al-Ataba Square in Central Cairo. Its area is 543 square meters and it has more than 1254 exhibits in its ten different sections which are: a historical section, a section for postal equipment, a third for stamps, a fourth for postal buildings, a fifth for transport, a sixth for costumes, a seventh for maps and statistics, an eighth for air mail, a ninth for conferences and lastly the tenth for foreign mail.