Where Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy Was Actually Filmed (Not Egypt)

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Summary

  • The Mummy was actually filmed in various locations across the world, including Morocco and England, giving the sets an authentic feel.
  • Marrakech, Morocco, was used to recreate Cairo, Egypt, due to its similar climate and architecture, allowing the film crew to recreate Egypt without special effects.
  • The crew scouted the Moroccan town of Erfoud to serve as the fictional city of Hamunaptra, capturing its ancient atmosphere and unique architecture.


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The Mummy was one of the most popular and beloved adventure movies from the ‘90s, filled with exotic locations and sprawling set pieces that immersed audiences in this story and brought the plot to life. The majority of the story is set in Egypt, with Brandon Fraser’s protagonist Rick O’Connell accidentally waking up an evil mummy after starting an archeological dig in the ancient city of Hamunaptra. However, the movie was actually filmed in various different locations across the world – some of which are totally different from the deserts of Egypt.

The Mummy was loved by critics and general audiences upon its release in 1999, spawning two more sequels that followed O’Connell’s adventures across the world – though none were quite able to capture the pure magic of the original. Much of this nostalgic charm came from the crew’s decision to shoot almost exclusively on-location, which really gave those sets an authentic and tangible feel. It allowed for plenty of exciting shots throughout the franchise, such as that memorable CGI-free opening in the original The Mummy.


Cairo Was Filmed In Marrakech, Morocco

Rick, Evie, and Jonathan in The Mummy, 1999

Much of The Mummy is set in Cairo, with the Egyptian capital appearing in multiple scenes as the O’Connells attempt to protect the city from the evil that they’ve awoken. However, these scenes weren’t actually filmed in Egypt at all, but rather in the Morrocan city of Marrakech (Source: Film Locations). The two locations have fairly similar climates and architectures, which is how the film crew was able to create their sets so effectively. All it took was some redesigning of buildings, and The Mummy was able to recreate Egypt without any special effects or CGI, which worked hugely to the film’s benefit.

Hamunaptra Was Filmed In Erfoud, Morocco

Hamunaptra from The Mummy 1999

The lost city of Hamunaptra also had to be recreated, as the location is entirely fictional and merely based on other long-lost civilizations. To capture that Ancient atmosphere and sense of history, The Mummy’s crew scouted the Moroccan town of Erfoud to serve as the movie’s Hamunaptra. Erfoud has several areas that were lost underground for over 100,000 years, leaving the city riddled with fossils and unique architecture that can’t be found anywhere else. Interestingly, the location was also used to recreate Blofeld’s desert hideout in Spectre.

The Museum Of Antiquities Was Filmed In Buckinghamshire, England

Pharoah Seti I in The Mummy (1999)

While the exterior shots for Cairo’s Museum of Antiquities were filmed in Marrakech, the crew decided to use the world-famous Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire, England, for the interior shots. The location has famously been used in movies such as Batman Begins, Brazil, and Eyes Wide Shut, making it a notorious location in the industry. The regal hallways and open-plan galleries perfectly brought Cairo’s famous museum to life in England.

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The Port Of Giza Was Filmed In Chatham, England

Rick, Evie, and Jonathan with a coffin in The Mummy 1999

During The Mummy’s trip to the south of England, the crew also found the perfect location to recreate the Port of Giza, which appears during a scene in which O’Connell and his friends board the ship upon the Nile. The ship itself was built in Chatham Docks, about 35 miles southeast of London. This location has also been used in a series of popular projects over the years, including serving as the streets of revolutionary France in Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables.

The Banks Of The Nile Were Filmed In Surrey, England

Imhotep Roaring At Rick And Evie - The Mummy 1999

After the ship goes down in flames and the heroes are forced to abandon the vessel, they manage to swim to the shores of the Nile and recollect themselves. This scene was also filmed in England, just outside the southern county of Surrey. The crew used Fensham Ponds to recreate the waters of the Nile, a popular tourist attraction that consists of over 1,000 acres of countryside and several large ponds that were transformed into Egypt’s famous river.

Why The Mummy Couldn’t Film In Egypt

A poster for The Mummy featuring the main characters

While all of these locations effectively captured the spirit of Egypt and gave this story a distinct atmosphere, it’s still a shame that The Mummy was never able to film within the country’s borders. At the time of filming, the crew decided it was too dangerous to work in Egypt due to the heated political conflicts that were causing disruptions to major organizations and resulting in riots on the streets. Regardless, the movie still injected a sense of Egypt into its locations and made it almost impossible to tell the difference.

Source: Film Locations