Palace Museum Complex - Cairo:
Abdeen Palace was built in 1863 on a 25-feddan area
by Egyptian, Italian, French and Turkish architects. In 1872 the lush
and luxurious palace became the seat of the government. Believing
in the fact that such palace is part and parcel of Egypts heritage,
President Mubarak in the late eighties ordered that the palace, one
of the most beautiful in the world, be completely restored. Restoration
work took longer than expected as the old palace was hit during the
strong 1992 earthquake that jolted Egypt.
Abdeen Palace is one of the most
famous palaces that were erected during the reign of Mohamed Ali
Pasha Dynasty. It was the seat of the government as of 1872 till
1952. During such eventful period of time, Abdeen Palace witnessed
unforgettable events that undoubtedly
affected Egypts modern and contemporary history. Khedive Ismail
ordered the palace be erected in 1863, and the palace was named
after Abdeen Bay, one of the army commander under Mohamed Ali Basha.
In 1872, Khedive Ismail moved to Abdeen Palace, leaving the castle,
old seat of Egypts government, that was built by Saladdin
Al Ayoubi in 1171. And today the Abdeen Palace Museum complex stands
as an evidence to Egypt's active role over times.The complex features
a military museum of all arms presented as gifts to President Mubarak
on different occasions, a museum of ancient weapons and a third
of the medals and orders of merit bestowed on members of Egypts
formal royal family and eminent Egyptian figures.
Shawki Museum :
Traditionally, a museum is known to be a place where objects of antique
and historical nature are displayed. However, the modern concept of
a museum has been developed so as to reflect, as well, all aspects
of modern and contemporary life. In the light of this concept, a museum
is now envisaged as a centre of comprehersive and extensive cultural
dissemination that aims at cultivating man's feelings and stimulating
creativity in all fields. A museum can, therefore, be a melting pot,
providing a tasteful and pleasant cultural mix, that reflects the
unity and integrity of arts. Poet - Laureate Ahmed shawki's Museum,
originally named by the poet " Karmat Ibn Hani'e ( Ibn Hani'e's
vineyard), was the first of a series of museums to be yet renovated.
Karmat Ibn Hani'e was not merely the
Poet - Laureate's house but also the hub of men of letters, poets,
playwrights, musicians, singers as well as a meeting place for statesmen,
pressmen and other dignitaries.
With the inauguration of this museum,
the Karma is re-created anew in order to resume its older role, but
with new and fresh potential. The ultimate purpose of this cultural
enterprise is to achieve the sublime goal of elevating arts and stimulating
man's creativity and noble feelings.
al-Kritliyya - Cairo
The House of the Cretan Woman:
The House of the Cretan Woman,
Bayt al-Kritliyya is an example of upper class medieval Cairene tastes.
The house is located in the southeast corner of the Ibn Tulun Mosque
in Sayeda Zainab and is now part of the Gayer Anderson House complex.
The Gayer-Anderson House is actually made up of two 17th century houses
stuck together. This complex is named after a British major who lived
in it and restored it earlier in the 20th century. He filled the house
with French, English and oriental furniture and other fixtures. The
house has a large reception room with a balcony that overlooks it.
The balcony is enclosed with a screen through which women of the harem
could discreetly watch the male visitors below. The legends about
this house are almost as intriguing as the house itself. Inhabitants
of the house were said to have had the blessings of the patron saint
al-Hussein who was the grandson of Muhammad. Another legend says that
the well of the house gets magical and curative waters from the Great
Flood. This well is said to have been the entrance to the palace of
the King of the Jinn. Vast treasures are said to have been guarded
by magic. Jinn is believed to be evil spirits.
Al-Suhaymi - Cairo:
Bayt Al-Suhaymi is an excellent example of a private, though wealthy,
Egyptian home of the 17th century, and shows most of the features
which made living in Cairo's arid climate tolerable in prior ages.
Not that the Bayt
Al-Suhaymi is unique, but this house does provide an interesting
perspective of history in general, a concept which might be brought
out here more easily than in other places. The concept is two fold.
First, ancient arts and wisdom are lost due to modern invention
and progressions, and second, that the ancient world, because of
this, was a much more pleasant place to live than many believe (at
least for those with some wealth). Bayt Al-Suhaymi is a case in
Other than the segregation
between the men's (salamlik) and women's (haramlik) quarters, most
of the spaces within the house are not designed around functionality,
as houses are today, but around climatic considerations. During
the heat of the day, shaded courtyards, balconies and roofs became
the living areas, while in the cool of the night, the family would
move indoors. We build houses today with low ceilings, and insulation
from the exterior environs so that our refrigerated air conditioning
may provide maximum benefits. But most of our modern houses would
have been miserable dwellings in the distant past. While these people
lacked our modern air conditioning, they developed other means,
which are mostly lost to us, to make themselves comfortable. Within
Bayt Al-Suhaymi we find high ceilings which allowed the warmer air
to rise and then to be swept away by the north facing maq'ad (wind
scoops) in the upper walls which caught the prevailing breezes and
circulated the cool air throughout the house. We find thick walls,
cool marble floors and fountains, all of which kept the hot air
from the Cairo summers at bay. Marble was in fact also used in similar
ways to which we use evaporative air conditioners, where water from
fountains was cascaded over finned marble to cool the water. So
while these people may not have had all of our modern conveniences,
they did not suffer so much as we often believe from the absence
of these conveniences.
The house was purchased
in 1796 by Sheikh Ahmed as-Suhaymi, who extended it by integrating
several of the adjacent houses. There are various separate staircase
entries, and about thirty chambers, or qaa, on various levels. On
the street side of the house, windows including that of the women's
bedrooms, have mashrabiyya screens, while in the rear screened and
latticed windows and arched galleries overlook the garden courtyard.
The harem reception room is particularly lovely, overlooking the
garden, its floors of marble, its walls covered with the most delicate
green and blue plant patterned enamel tiles.
of the People) :
Beit El-Umma, or House of the People, was built at the turn of the
century as a residence for the nationalist leader of modern Egypt
and founder of the Wafd party, Saad Zaghlul (1857-1927). It has been
carefully preserved in its original state as a museum, providing its
visitors with a rare taste of the lifestyles of the Egyptian political
elite at that time. It has an Art Nouveau dining room, Louis XV style
reception rooms, an Arab style living room, Turkish baths and a fine
The Beshtak Palace:
Carriage Museum :
Beshtak Palace is a notable stop for tourists because of its museum
which documents the history of the city of Cairo, and its beautiful
Qaa (chamber). On the outside, this palace built by Emir Beshtak
in 1334, has unusual windows screened with mashrabiya. But the second
floor chamber, with its pointed arches, stained-glass windows and
gilt and painted wood paneling distinguish it as one of the most
beautiful private chambers of the period.
Museum, within the Citadel, is housed in the building once used as
the British Officers' Mess during the colonial period. It has a collection
of eight carriages, including that of the Khedive Ismail used when
he opened the Suez Canal in 1869 and a golden state carriage presented
to the Khedive by Napoleon III. In fact, most of the carriages date
from this period.
Child Museum :
technology, imagination, truth in the past, present and future; all
interact to create a wonderful world for the Egyptian child, namely,
the Child Museum. It is an edifice that appeals to a child's intelligence
and inquisitive nature, allowing interaction with what he sees in
full freedom. Children at this museum are able to deal with high technology
and modern methods to enrich their knowledge and imagination.
Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak,
the patron of Egyptian children, was the first to express the wish
to establish a museum for children that ushers them into an attractive
world where they are encouraged to observe, get acquainted with
and discover everything new and by comparison and touch - try to
find for themselves the answers to their questions. The
aim of establishing a child museum is to make the child feel his/her
Since 1985, for over
ten years, specialized working groups of Egyptian and world experts
in fields of science, technology, physics, history, geography, civilization,
geology, architecture, engineering and arts of exhibitions have
all exerted concerted efforts to create a distinguished
and unique museum for the Egyptian child.
Tour of the Museum:A
child starts his tour of the museum after he receives his "passport".
He sees, listens and gets acquainted with all the different aspects
of life, starting with the ancient forefathers and progressing up
to modern times. He
begins to realize the relations between all objects, and the fact
that he is a part of everything he observes in nature and in evolution.The
museum provides the child with cultural knowledge of Egypt, his
motherland, with all its physical, environmental, artistic and scientific
Coptic Museum in Cairo is a life-like record of one of Egypt's periods
all fraught with various antiques and monuments reflecting the different
civilizations that graced the land of Egypt starting by the Ancient
Egyptian civilization, passing by the Greek, the Roman, the Coptic,
and lastly the Islamic.
The Coptic Museum
lies behind the walls of the famous Roman Fortress of Babylon in
the ancient district of Cairo (Misr Al-Qadima). The area surrounding
the museum abounds in lively monuments of open museums that depict
with the Coptic Museum the history of the Coptic Period in Egypt.
The place, moreover,
embraces Virgin Mary's Church known as the Hanging Church; a great
ancient worship house of world stature that was among the very
first to host Coptic rituals on the face of earth. The museum
was built in an artchitectural style using wood in ceilings and
oriels (arabesque and lattice glass). Some biblical verses are
written against them ornamented with Coptic embellishments like
plants, especially grapevines, birds such as eagles, ostriches
and peacock which all imply a certain philosophy and a specific
significance in the Christian creed. Marble pillars and fountains
ornamented with mosaic are more than present under the roof.
HOTELS IN EGYPT