The Egyptian Museum History Information
The Egyptian government established the ‘Service des Antiques de l’Egypte’ in 1835 mainly to halt the plundering of archeological sites and to arrange the exhibition of the collected artifacts owned by the government. The Azbakian garden in Cairo was first used as a storage place for these artifacts. The collections were later transferred to another building in the citadel of Saladin
In 1858, a museum was prepared at Boulaq, its contents collected by the French archeologist August Mariette. In 1880, the contents of the Boulaq museum were transferred to an annex of the Giza palace of Ismail pasha, the ruler of Egypt. The present museum was built in 1900, in the neo-classical style by the French architect Marcel Dourgnon
The mummies of some pharaohs of the 18 to 20th Dynasty found in Thebes. The first group was found in Deir el Bahari cachette and these consist of the mummies of: Seqenenre, Ahmose I, Amenhotep I, Tuthmosis I, Tuthmosis II, Tuthmosis III, Seti I, Ramses II, Ramses III.The other group was found in the tomb of Amenhotep II, consisting of the mummies of: Amenhotep II, Tuthmosis IV, Amenhotep III, Merenptah, Seti II, Siptah, Ramses IV, Ramses V, Ramses VI, (and three women and a child.)
This museum exhibits over 120000 objects, some of the important groups of these objects are: Artifacts from the tombs of kings and members of the royal families of the Middle Kingdom found at Dahshur in 1894.The contentsof the royal tombs of Tuthmosis III, Tuthmosis IV, Amenhotep III and Horemheb and the tomb of Yuya and Thuya.Artifacts from the tomb of Tutankhamun, consisting of more than 3500 Pieces, of which 1700 objects are displayed in the museum (the rest are in storerooms).
Objects from some royal and private tombs at Tanis (in the Delta) dating from the 21st and 22nd Dynasties. Artifacts from the Amarna period made for Akhenaton and members of his family and some high officials. These were found in Tell el Amarna, Hermopolis, Thebes and Memphis between 1912 and 1933. Collections of artifacts from the royal palaces
Islamic Cairo Sightseeing Information
THE MOSQUE OF AMR IBN EL AA’S :
The first mosque built in Egypt in the year 21 AH/641 AD. Situated in Old Cairo, the mosque breeds a spirit of simplicity, with a heritage of architectural art from the different ages.
THE NILOMETER AT RODA ISLANA :
One of the oldest civil constructions in Egypt it was built by the Caliph al Mutawaki in 247 AH/861 AD.
Ahmed Ibn Tulun restored it in 259 AH.
AHMED IBN TULUN MOSQUE, AL KHALIFA DISTRICT :
The third mosque to be built in Egypt completed in 256AH/879AD. It is particularly noted for its immense size and very fine collection of stucco engravings. Also the minaret is unique.
ALAZHAR MOSQUE :
Construction began in 359AH/970AD and the mosque was opened for prayers in 361 AH/972 AD.
It was built by Jawhar al Siqily (the Sicilian) and is the first mosque erected by the Fatimids in Egypt.
Named Al Azhar after Fatima Al Zahraa, the Prophet Mohamed’s daughter, A Azhar is considered the oldest Islamic University where lectures were first delivered in 975 AD.
EL HAKEM Bi AMR ALLAH MOSQUE :
Located near al Fotouh Gate, this is the fourth remaining ancient mosque.Constrution was initiated by the Caliph Al Aziz Billah in 380/AH/990 AD and was completed by Al Hakem Bi Amr Allah.
The mosque was misused by the French expedition which seized the two famous minarets and turned them into watch towers. The mosque was restored by the Indian Bahra sect and was reopened for prayers in November 1980 AD following centuries of devastation.
THE WALLS AND GATES OF CAIRO :
Cairo is the only Islamic city to have had 3 walls built around it in 3 different epochs. The first wall: built by Jawhar the Sicilian..
The second wall: built by the Commander Badr al Gamali during the reign of the Fatimid Caliph Al Mustansir… The third wall: built by Baha el Din Qaraqosh during the reign of Salah El Din Al Ayoubi. This wall encircled the cities of Al Qahira (Cairo), Al Qatai, Al Askar and Al Fostat. The walls had 8 gates of which only 3 remain those of Zuwailah, Al Fotouh, and Al Nasr.
AQMAR MOSQUE 519 AH/1125 AD :
Built by Al Maamoun al Batai’hi, the Vizier of the Fatimid Caliph Al Amer, This is the only remaining example of a small mosque and lies in Al Muizz Street. It is famous for the calligraphy on its walls and the intricate carvings and engravings.
AL HUSSEIN MOSQUE :
The tomb of Al Hussein was erected there in 549 AH/1154 AD. During the reign of the Caliph Al Zafir Bi Amr Allah, It was added on to and renovated through the ages, rebuilt during the reign of Abbas the First and fully restored by Khedive Ismail.
It holds some of the relics if the Prophet Mohamed placed in a special room built for the purpose in 1893 AD.
The area was enlared by more than half, and a two storey building was added as well as ablution areas. The Baha’i sect 1965 AD donated a niche of pure silver inlaid with precious stones.
AL SALEH TALA’I IBN RAZEEQ MOSQUE :
This is the last monument of the Fatimid period in Egypt. It was built and named after the vizier of the Caliph Al Fai’z and the last Fatimid Caliph Al Al’ded in 555 AH/ 1160AD.
The mosque is built higher than the street level in AL Darb AL Ahmar district and rests on the roofs of shops that date back to the time and are still used as such.
THE CITADEL OF SALAH AL DIN AL AYOUBI (SALADIN) :
Built by Saladin on a promontory of the Moqattam hills in 579 AH/ 1183 AD. The castle overlooks Cairo and contains within its walls many monuments and buildings including the Mosque of Soliman Pasha, the Mosque of Mohamed Ali ( known as the marble mosque ) and Joseph’s well which is some 90 meters deep.
THE TOMB OF IMAM AL SHAFE’I :
Named after one of the founders of the main schools of Islamic jurisprudence, It is one of the oldest Ayyubid monuments and was built in 608 AH/ 1211 AD. It is famous for its magnificent dome built of wood and inlaid with lead.
SULTAN BAYBARS MOSQUE :
Built by the Mameluke Sultan AL Zahir Baybars in 667 AH/ 1269 AD. It was the object of misuse over the ages. Once used as a fortress during the French expedition, then as a soap factory, then a bakery during Mohamed Ali’s rule and as a warehouse during the British occupation.
THE MADRASSA, BIMARISTAN AND DOME OF SULTAN QALWOUN :
Built in 683 AH/ 1284 AD by Sultan Mansour Seif EL Din Qalawoun AL Alfi, one of the great Bahri Mameluke Sultans. To this day the building is known as Qalawoun Ophthalmic Hospital. The mosque is adorned by a very fine minaret and dome. The minaret collapsed in the 19th Century and was rebuilt in the early part of the last century. The mosque is in AL Muizz Street.
AMEER BISHTAQ PALACE :
Ameer Bishtaq was one of the princes during the reign of Sultan AL Nasser Mohamed. He built his palace from 735 AH through 740 AH/ 1334 AD through 1339 AD. The palace has three facades : the west facade, the main one overlooks AL Muizz Street, the northern one faces Darb Qormoz, and the south façade overlooks the alley of Bayt al Qadi. Behind these facades are several small shops.
AL GAME’I AL AZRAQ (THE BLUE MOSQUE) :
Built by Ameer Aqsunqur in 748 AH/ 1346 AD, it is located in Bab al Wazeer Street. It is famous for its marble Minbar and circular minaret. The Blue Mosque is so called because of the eastern wall covered in blue ceramic tiles.
MOSQUE AND MADRASSA OF SULTAN HASSAN :
Built by AL Nasser Hassan Ibn Mohamed Ibn Qalawoun in 757 AH/ 1356 AD. It is a mosque and a Madrassa (school ) for the 4 schools of jurisprudence and is considered a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. The mosque is in Salah Al Din square by the Citadel.
AL MU’AYYAD MOSQUE :
Built in 823 AH/ 1420 AD, in El Muizz Street, Gamaliya district. Its minaret rises above Bab Zuwailah, one of the gates of Cairo built in 485 AH/ 1092 AD. The mosque is the pride of the Circassian Mameluke period.
ZAINAB KHATOON’S HOUSE :
One of the best examples of a house in the Mameluke period, It lies behind Al Azhar mosque in a quaint alley that captures the spirit of the time. The house is designed to conform to the style of Islamic houses.
MOSQUE OF SULTAN ABI AL ALAA’ :
Built By a merchant, Nour Al Din Ali ibn Mohamed Al Borolos in 890 AH/ 1485 AD. It consists of 4 iwans with roofs raised on red and white stone pillars. The Sahn has a gold inlaid roof. It is named after Sheikh Al Salih Hussein Abi Ali, known as Abi Al Alaa’ who is buried under the dome adjacent to the mosque. The mosque is in the district of Bulaq.
AL GHOURI MOSQUE :
Built by the Mameluke Sultan Qansoah Al Ghouri in 909 AH/ 1504 AD. It has a rectangular Sahn leading to 4 iwans with marble floors. The minaret is capped by 5 separate heads.
HOUSE, DOME AND SABEEL OF AL GHOURI :
The entrance is opposite the Al Ghouri mosque. The two entrances are identical in height and noted for their marble covering.
SABEEL AND KUTAAB OF KHISROU PASHA, NAHASEEN DISTRICT :
This was constructed by the Wali (ruler) Khisrou Pasha in 942 AH/ 1535 AD and is the first such monument in Ottoman Egypt. It has two decorated façades and above the Sabeel is the Kutaab with a gold inlaid ceiling and marble floors.
THE HOUSE OF GAMAL AL DIN AL DAHABI :
Built in 1047 AH/ 1637AD. Lies in Al Ghoriya and is a fine example of an Arab house at the beginning of the 17th Century.
BAYT (HOUSE) AL HARAWI :
Built in 1144 AH/ 1731 AD and famed for exquisite colored decorative motifs and ceilings. A good example of an Ottoman house
SABEEL AND KUTAAB OF ABDEL RAHMAN KATKHUDA :
Found at the intersection of Al Muizz and Tambokshia streets. Built in 1157 AH/ 1744 AD by Abdel Rahman Katkhuda. The top floor houses the Kutaab which is a school to teach the young poor children the Holy Quoran reading and writing.
SAYEDA NAFEESA MOSQUE :
Sayeda Nafeesa was the grand daughter of Imam Al Hussein, son of Ali Ibn Abi Talib. The mosque was built by Abdel Rahman Katkhuda in 1170AH/ 1756 AD and is located in AL Khalifa district.
MOSQUE OF MOHAMED BEY ABUL DAHAB :
Built in 1188 AH/ 1774 AD, it is located in AL Azhar square and was intended as an annex to absorb the increasing number of students. Adjacent to the mosque is a stable and drinking fountain for animals. The mosque is above street level and below it are shops. The owner and his sister are buried within the mosque.
BAYT AL SUHAIMY :
Another fine example of Islamic architecture built in 1211 AH/ 1796 AD and located in AL Darb AL Asfar district.
MOHAMED ALI MOSQUE (THEALABASTER MOSQUE) :
Towering over the city of Cairo, it was built in the northern summit of the Citadel, and is visible from all directions. Building started in 1246 AH/ 1830 AD. It is so called because of the rich alabaster that covers the interior and exterior walls.
MOSQUE AND SABEEL OF AL SILIHDAR :
Built in 1255 AH/ 1839 AD by Sulayman Agha Al Silihdar. Found at the enterance of Burgwan alley near AL Muizz Street.
MANESTERLY PALACE, RODA ISLAND :
Built by Hassan Fuad Pasha AL Manesterly near the Nilometer in 1850AD, finely decorated, it has been resorted and is now used as a concert hall and houses the Om Kalthoum Museum.
AL RIFAI’ MOSQUE :
Built by Khoshyar Hanem, mother of Khedive Ismail in 1329 AH, It stands in Salah Al Din Square in the Citadel area opposite the Sultan Hassan Mosque. The huge structure houses the tombs of the Mohamed Ali Dynasty.
SAYEDA ZAINAB MOSQUE :
Sayeda Zainab was the daughter of Sayidna Ali Ibn Abi Talib and grand daughter of the Prophet Mohamed. It is located in the square bearing her name. It was an ancient mosque, resorted more than once until the year 1940 AD when the Ministry of Wakf built the present edifice. New areas were added to the mosque compound in 1969 AD. It was then resorted in the year 2000 AD into the image we see today.
Beit El-Sennari :
While Beit El-Sennari was built in 1794 by Ibrahim Katkhuda El-Sennari, a Sudanese 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 culture base in Egypt.
Soon, they began their mission of making the first European study of Egypt which they published as Le desription de l’ Egypt.
Beit El Sennari was used to house many of the French artists and scholars at the time. It became the center of the French study of Egypt, and therefore a very important monument to early Egyptology.
Beit El Sennari is not well known by many tourists who visit Egypt. Situated on a small lane named Haret Monge, just off of a downtown street called Khairat, there are very few tourism attractions nearby. Perhaps the easiest way of reaching it is by using the Metro to go to Sa’ed Zaghloul Station.
Coptic Cairo Sightseeing Information ( CHURCHES )
THE HANGING CHURCH :
Built at the close of the 4th century and beginning of the 5th century, So called because it was built on the southern tower of Babylon Castle, headquarters of the Byzantine army in Misr al Qadima (old Cairo). It is built in the Basilica style.
ABY SERGA CHURCH :
Dates back to the beginning of the 5th century and built in the Basilica style. It built over the cave that gave sanctuary to the Holy family and is considered a Holy place for supplicants.
CHURCH OF SAINT BARBARA :
Originally built in the 5th century, it was rebuilt in the 10th century and still maintains its original wooden door which is an artistic masterpiece. It was named after a young girl, Barbara who embraced Christianity in defiance of her pagan father who reported her to the Roman rule who ordered that she be killed.
ABU SEEFIN CHURCH :
The church is named after the Martyr Mercurious known as Abu Sefein. It was built in the 6th Century and is famous for its intricate wood carvings laced with ivory. The church also has the largest number of Coptic icons.
MARI GUIRGUIS CHURCH :
Founded on the ruins of an old church, it is built in the Basilica style. It boasts a famous hall, the bridal hall, considered as one of the finest examples of art dating back to the 13th century.
CHURCH OF THE VIRGIN SAVIOUR, HARET AL RUM :
Built in the 6th Century prior to the Arab conquest of Egypt, It stands close to the al Azhar Mosque and was built on a well that was visited by the Holy Family during their stay in Egypt.
The historian al Maqrizi mentioned the name Saviour as Salah al Din al Ayoubi (Saladin) visited the site during the Crusades asking for the blessings of this Holy place for victory.
CHURCH OF THE VIRGIN MARY, MAADI :
The Holy Family moved from Misr al Qadima, moving south until it reached Maadi (a suburb of Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt). The Holy Family took a boat from this place and headed to the south of Egypt.
The original stone steps used by the Holy Family to descend to the boat are visited to this day.
ST. MARK’S CATHEDRAL :
The largest church in Africa, built recently in Abbassia area, the Cathedral represents the rapid development of church architecture. The remains of St. Mark, the apostle of Christ lie in this Cathedral.
THE JEWISH SYNAGOGUE :
The synagogue is in Adli Street in downtown Cairo. It was built in 1903 and is used this day for celebrating Jewish religious rites. It stands as the main synagogue of Jewish residents in Cairo.
BEN EZRA SYNAGOGUE :
This synagogue in old Cairo is set between the Oldest of Coptic churches and Islamic architectural mosques, a symbol of the meeting point of the three religions.
The style in which this synagogue is built is a combination of Jewish, Christian and Islamic architectural styles.