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The story of Gayer-Anderson Museum

From the architectural greatness of the 17th century, you will enjoy discovering the Gayer Anderson Museum which is considered the best example for the grandeur of Islamic architecture at that time.

Let’s know more about the story of Gayer-Anderson and the construction of his Museum:

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The story beginning

The story began when Anderson was invited by a beautiful lady to have a look at an ancient house. Once he entered the house he fell in love with all the details and decided to own this house and share his treasures from all around the world through this beautiful ancient house. After many years this house was named after him and became the Gayer-Anderson Museum.

The Museum History

You will find Gayer-Anderson museum in El-Sayeda Zainab district, old Cairo which has many other historical monuments like the mosque of Ibn Tulun and the mosque of Sarghatmash.

Let’s know the history of this house and know more about the owner of the house. John Gayer-Anderson was a British major working as an army doctor, he got interested in this house so he decided to restore it.

Today’s museum was 2 different houses in the first place, the first and the largest hours was built in 632 by Hajj Mohammad ibn al-Hajj al-Gazzar. Then a very wealthy Muslim woman from Crete was able to buy this house to live in it. They named the hours after her name at that time so they called it “House of the Cretan Woman” in Arabic “Beit al-Kritliyya”.

Beside this large horse there was another smaller house that was built in 1540 by Abdel-Qader al-Haddad. They named the house after it’s last owner which is “Beit Amna bint Salim,”.

Finally the two houses were joined by one bridge from the third floor to be one big house at the end. This big house was known for a long period of time by Beit al-Kritliyya

The Construction plan of the Museum

The construction of this museum started by using the surrounding bricks of Mokattam hill and it was built on the ruins of Tulunid capital which was known as Al-Qata’i.

UNESCO inscribed Gayer Anderson museum among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This museum is a great example for traditional human houses and a wonderful example for the Islamic domestic architecture that still remains in Cairo since the 16th and 17th century.

The architecture beauty of the Museum

Gayer-Anderson has added more beauty to the house with lots of unique decorations from his travels all over the world. He started to fill each room in the house with very unique antiquities, glassware, artwork, crystal, carpets, furniture, and some embroidered costumes from different Arab countries.

There are some special rooms in the house like the Persian room which has exquisite tiling, also the Damascus room which has lacquer and gold. While touring the house you will find a charming marble fountain in the middle of the house surrounded with decorated ceiling beams and carpet-covered alcoves.

The main house was originally divided into rooms based on gender, as there is part of the house for females called “el-Haramlek” and another part for men called “el- Salamlek”.

Also they used to differentiate the rooms based on the climate, as there are some rooms that work for winter and others for summer.

The museum main highlights

The museum hosts lots of interesting highlights you will definitely enjoy visiting.

Once you enter the museum you will find something called Sabil which was created to offer free water to everybody passing through it and feel thirsty. To reach all the museum rooms you have to pass through the courtyard which is the center point for all the rooms.

The Ground floor used to be the storeroom or an anteroom but today they used it to present the precious rare treasures of Gayer-Anderson which were collected from around the world.

Let’s move to the first floor where you will visit the Maq’ad (Loggia), which contains many beautiful furniture and comfortable seats with colorful carpets and a decorated ceiling above with Islamic inscriptions.

The first floor also has the Winter room which is unique by fascinating stained glass windows. Another impressive room found in the first floor is El Haramlek, this room was made specially for the women of the house, it contains unique windows called Mashrabia. The Mashrabia is a specially made window that allows the woman to see what is happening in the street without anyone seeing her to save privacy. On the other connected house, you can find a celebration room decorated with Islamic and Persian influences.


Then once you reach the second floor, you will enjoy the calmness as this floor contains less rooms and lots of activities. This flood has a special room for reading and another one for writing which was called “Alkuttab”. And in the other house, you will find amazing rooms that were created to be art galleries.

The final level of this museum is the house roof which has a magnificent view on a breathtaking landscape that overlooks the Ibn Tulun mosque.

In conclusion, All the efforts Anderson made in his journeys during his life was collected in one place which was his own home back then before he gave it to the Egyptian government as a gift with all its belongings to get the Pasha title. But now this house became one of the greatest museums in Egypt that hosts beautiful art pieces from all around the world. Gayer-Anderson Museum is now a masterpiece in architecture, historical decorations, and hosting precious collectibles from around the world.
Make sure to pass by such a fascinating museum in Egypt to get a special tour around the world from the inside of this house.

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