Walk Like An Egyptian March Like A Roman

So there I am stood on Santa Cruz quay side looking at a space ship housing a Roman exhibition, after earlier visitng an Egyptian mummy show. At my side a Canarian ice crean van for a company called Califonia (why?) is relentlessly chiming the German song Lili Marlena (again why?). It´s no wonder my brain is confused.

It was all part of a very rewarding pre christmas visit to the Tenerife capital. Egipto En Busca De La Eternidad (Egypt in search of the eternity) was the latest in a long line of wonderful art exhibitions staged by the Caja Canarias Fundacion and housed at the two floor cultural space of the Caja Canarias bank HQ in Plaza del Patriotismo. Mournful mummies were what I expected and they were lurking but the first floor was more about the cultural life of ancient Egypt, featuring art, music, ceramics and a look at some of the leading dynasty´s. The faint waft of Egyptian music, secluded alcoves, and moody lighting helped to put me in the mood. It was a national holiday and I was glad to see many families enjoying the free exhibition.

Upstairs it all turned a bit more macabre, yep the mummies were revealing their secrets. British archaeologist Howard Carter uncovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, there were 65 revealing black and white photographs of the cursed expedition, a rare insight into the sheer scale of the endeavour. The boy king was just one of several sovereigns being shown in a new light. It wasn´t just wood, bronze, and ivory coffins on display, a cut away tomb showed the full inner workings of the last rites, and there was even a video alcove with more grainy and gruesome images. It´s well worth a visit before the works go back to Madrid´s Egypt Museum after 27 January 2018. It´s open Monday to Friday 10 am to 1.30pm, and 5.30 to 8pm. Saturday is just 10.30 to 1 .30pm, and even mummies get a day off on Sundays.


Honest I´m not after a free overdraft but the touring exhibition, Roma Norum Vita (Roman Life) is another free show from the Caja Canarias Fundacion. The space ship like touring venue turned out to be more of a Tardis, it had a Roman city and 2,000 years of excellence packed inside. A scene setting video room gave way to a paved and very solid feeling street lined with forum steps. Rooms feeding off showed their home comforts like the communal toilets, tapped drinking water, and lavish sleeping quarters. A backdrop became another video wall showing more of their political, social, and commercial life. I almost felt like a ghostly intruder, or an extra in Up Pompei. The show lasted about 25 minutes and a lot of families brought young children who looked genuinely fascinated.

To catch a glimpse of this glorious past, head for the ferry port, Monday to Friday it´s open 12.30 to 2pm, and 5 to 9pm, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays it´s 11 to 2pm, and 5 to 9pm. They take 25 people at a time, and can do groups if you pre call 902906666, and these Romans remain until 25 January 2018.