King Tutankhamun exhibition to draw masses in Vienna
( dpa ) - Ancient Egypt's most famous pharaoh, Tutankhamun, is expected to draw the masses to Vienna's Museum of Ethnology in what organizers have bill as a unique exhibition of Egypt's treasures.
"Tutankhamun and the World of the Pharaohs" has already sold 50,000 advance tickets, creating "more interest than any other exhibition we ever organized", Wilfried Seipel, the head of Vienna's Fine Art Museum and one of the organizers, said.
At least 500,000 visitors were expected to view the statues, funerary objects and gold jewellery on show during the exhibition's run from March 9 to September 28, a museum spokeswoman said.
The exhibition shows 140 objects from Cairo's Egyptian Museum, many of which had never previously left the country, museum director Wafaa el-Saddik said.
A travelling sister exhibition touring Europe and the United States since 2004, organized by National Geographic, has drawn 4 million visitors to date.
Adding to the hype is a show in Zurich opening on Saturday which recreates King Tut's tomb to its original scale.
The show in Vienna takes a slightly different angle with a broader overview over Egypt's more than 5,000 years of history, Seipel said.
The 18th Dynasty child pharaoh Tutankhamun nonetheless remains the focus and highlight of the show. While quickly forgotten after his demise in 1323 BC, treasures from Tutankhamun's magnificent tomb triggered an ongoing Egypt-hype after their rediscovery in 1922.
Despite steep ticket prices by Vienna standards of 18 euros (27 dollars) per person, organizers expect a packed house with visitors from all over Europe queuing to see King Tut's golden sandals or a canopy studded with precious stones that contained the stomach of Egypt's ruler.