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Egypt after the Revolution

Egypt after the Revolution

Life Testimonial

Camel Tour

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Museums PDF Print E-mail

1. Egyptian Museum of Antiquities:

 The Cairo Egyptian Museum is home to the greatest collection of Pharaonic antiquities.  One of the major highlights of this museum are the treasures of King Tutankhamon discovered in his tomb in 1922. Among the showpieces are the famous golden mask of the young Pharaoh as well as his jewellery, thrones and statues.  An excellent collection of Greek and Roman artefacts is also worth seeing. Even though the collection is world-class, don't expect a slick museum with amazing lighting and careful labelling. The Museum building is pretty old; it was built in 1902.  A new building is still under construction called the Grand Egyptian Museum located near Giza Pyramids.

2. Coptic Museum:

 Recently renovated, this museum houses the world's largest collection of Coptic Christian artwork. It provides a link between ancient and Islamic Egypt. The first floor exhibits carved stone and stucco, frescoes, and woodwork. The second floor includes textiles, manuscripts, icons, and metalwork. The collection includes many exquisite pieces, but several are noteworthy first for their quirkiness or their syncretism, rather than their beauty, such as carvings and paintings that trace the transformations of the ancient key of life, the Ankh, into the cross, and Christian scenes with Egyptian gods. There's also a library with 7,000 books and manuscripts.

3. Museum of Islamic Art:

 Too often overlooked, this is one of the finest museums in Cairo. It houses the world's rarest and most extensive collection of Islamic art. Its extensive collection contains mainly Egyptian Islamic art, but there are pieces from elsewhere in the Islamic world as well. Arranged according to medium, they illustrate every era of development—from Ummayad to Abbasid, Fatimid, Ayyubid, and Mamluk works. On display are woodwork, stucco, intarsia, ceramics, glass, metalwork, textiles tapestries, pottery, carpets, inlaid metalwork, medieval weapons and armour.

4. National Museum of Modern Art:

 This small museum is located in tranquil grounds near the Cairo Opera House, with a high-quality collection of works by Egypt's most esteemed artists.

5. Bayt al-Kritliyya (The House of the Cretan Lady):

 An example of upper class medieval Cairene tastes. The house is located in the southeast corner of the Ibn-Tulun Mosque and is now part of the Gayer Anderson House Complex. The Gayer-Anderson House is actually made up of two 17th century houses adjoined. It is named after a British major who lived in it and restored it earlier in the 20th century. Gayer Anderson 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 visitors below. The legends about this house are almost as intriguing as the house itself. For example, the well of the house is said to have magical and curative waters from the Great Flood. 

6. The Bayt Al-Suhaymi:

 An excellent example of a private wealthy Egyptian homes of the 17th century. It 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 twofold. 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 point. 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 qa’as, 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.

7. Gayer-Anderson Museum:

 Also known as Bayt al-Kiritliya, the museum consists of two Ottoman houses joined together, restored, and furnished by Major Gayer-Anderson, a British member of the Egyptian civil service in the 1930s and '40s.  Gayer-Anderson was a talented collector and the house's contents include lovely pieces of Pharaonic, Islamic, Central Asian art and carpets from India, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan. In the reception room there is a mosaic fountain lies at the centre of an ornate marble floor. In the courtyard of the east house is the "Well of Bats," the subject of much storytelling in the neighbourhood.

8. Umm Kolthoum Museum:

 This small museum, which forms part of the larger Monastirli Palace grounds, is a showcase for photos and other memorabilia of the legendary Egyptian diva Umm Kolthoum, including a library with all her recordings.

9. Abdin Palace Museums:

 The former seat of government is now used to display diplomatic gifts, military equipment and royal finery. Abdin 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 of Egypt’s 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. Abdin 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, Abdin Palace witnessed unforgettable events that undoubtedly affected Egypt’s modern and contemporary history. Khedive Ismail ordered the palace be erected in 1863, and the palace was named after Abdin Bay, one of the army commanders under Mohamed Ali Basha. In 1872, Khedive Ismail moved to Abdin Palace, leaving the Citadel, old seat of Egypt’s government, which was built by Saladdin Al Ayoubi in 1171. Today, the Abdin Palace Museum complex stands as 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 Egypt’s formal royal family and eminent Egyptian figures.

10. Agricultural and Cotton Museum:

 The oldest agricultural museum in the world, with a fascinating (albeit somewhat dusty) assortment of stuffed animals, animal mummies and dioramas of Egyptian agricultural life. Located inside the Ministry of Agriculture, Dokki, Giza.

11. Imhotep Museum:

 This newly opened and architecturally striking museum features a model of the famed step pyramid of Zoser (designed by Imhotep), plus a limestone sphinx of the fifth Dynasty King Unas and various other beautifully displayed artefacts from the Saqqara area. The location of this Museum is at Saqqara near the tickets office to the area.

12. Manial Palace Museum:

 Located in the district of Manial, Cairo, this early-20th century palace, a former residence of the royal family, show splendid architectural details and furnishings: Turkish tiles, Moroccan wood carvings, Syrian wood inlays, and Egyptian brass and woodwork. A royal reception hall, a small mosque and a museum of hunting trophies are also part of the complex.

13. Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil Museum:

 Located in Dokki, Cairo, this beautiful villa contains an impressive private collection of 19th-century paintings. On display are works by Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir and Gauguin. The museum also enjoys a nice garden setting.

14. Solar Boat Museum:

 The 140-ft/43-m cedar boat displayed there was discovered in 1954. It was probably a funerary vessel used to carry the king Khufu to the Great Pyramid; it was later buried near his final resting place. Ancient Egyptians believed it carried the king as he accompanied the sun on its daily journey through the sky. The museum houses the boat, now restored, and the rectangular pit the boat was buried in. The location of this Museum is right next to the southern side of the great pyramid of King Khufu at Giza.

15. The Military Museum:

 Located in the Citadel of Saladin in Cairo. It contains a collection of weapons and costumes illustrating warfare in Egypt from ancient times. Notable are its artefacts of the 1956 Anglo-French-Israeli attack.

16. Beit El-Umma (House of the People):

 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 library.  The museum is located in Monira district, near the subway station of Saad Zaghlul, Cairo.

17. The Postal Museum:

 Established in February 1934, opened to 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. It occupies an area of 543 square meters and it has more than 1254 exhibits in its ten different sections, including: a historical section, postal equipment, stamps, postal buildings, transport, costumes, maps and statistics, air mail, conferences, and foreign mail section.

18. The Jewel Palace (Qaser Al Gawhara):

 Here, Muhammad Ali waited while his forces trapped, and put an end to the Mamluk beys by massacring most of their leaders as they were leaving the Citadel. The Kasr (Qasr) El-Gawhara or Jewel Palace, originally Mohammad Ali Pasha's headquarters, is now open to public as an example of the best early 19th century Ottoman decoration and architecture. Its collection includes 19th century royal portraits, costumes and furnishings. Constructed in 1814, it includes a small garden leading to a mosque with one of the more interesting eccentricities being the Watch Hall where the shape of a watch has been used to decorate the walls. The Museum palace is located inside the Citadel of Saladin, Cairo.

19. The Beshtak Palace:

 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 mashrabiyya. The second floor chamber, with its pointed arches, stained-glass windows and gilt and painted wood panelling is one of the most beautiful private chambers of the period. The Palace is located in Al-Moez street, on the corner of darb kermis, Cairo.

20. Beit El-Sennari:

 While Beit El-Sennari was built in 1794 by Ibrahim Katkhuda El-Sennari, a Sudanese occultist, it is famous for another reason. In 1798, Napoleon invaded Egypt bringing with him an army of scientists, scholars and artists to establish a French cultural base in Egypt. Soon, they began their mission of making the first European study of Egypt which they published as “Le description de l'Egypte”. Beit El Sennari was housed many of the French artists and scholars at the time. It became the centre of the French study of Egypt, and therefore a very important monument to early Egyptology. Located in Saydah Zainab square, Cairo.