2014/03/08

Islamic Art Museum

 The Museum of Islamic Art


Museum of Islamic Art is really a wonderful reservoir of Islamic antiquities. Has a workforce of about 10,200 important works of art that can not be explored in a day. The museum displays works of art of different Islamic eras that have passed through Egypt, including the Fatimid period, and periods of Turkish and Persian. The Fatimid era, and you can find a fantastic range of wooden planks that are surviving elements just west of the palace of Al Kahira Palace. And people love the craft of mihrabs graves Sayeda Ruqayya and Sayeda Nafeesa.

 Islamic Art Museum

Islamic Art Museum

Islamic Art Museum

Islamic Art Museum


 Ayyubid period can be found beautifully carved wooden tabut (coffin) of the Al-Hussein, in addition to a fine inlaid brass candlesticks. Of the Mamluk era, there was a group of enamelled mosque lamps, as well as vaccination of wood, metal, marble furniture, and different things. Tatar and Mohamed Higaziya provides us the platform to their school (the grave). Boxes of the Koran that once belonged to the Sultan Shaaban are true pieces of art that represents the drafting of minutes. Beautiful rugs from Iran and Turkey are simply eye-catching. Patio has a beautiful fountain of the nineteenth century has been obtained from the palace on the island of Roda Monasterli.

These antiques are only a fraction of the display in the museum. They are only examples of the most important artifacts in the museum. Museum of Islamic Art is in place in the Bab El Khalq Egyptian library. Port Saed take place to reach the intersection with Muhammad Ali Ahmad Maher in the Holy place. The museum is open all week 9:00 to 4:00 p.m., except Friday, when it is open from 9:30 to 11:30 and 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 On the other hand, you take a look at Cairo, you will find Islamic architecture everywhere. Old (historic) Cairo is a museum open to the beautiful architecture of Islam where it can be seen that the geometric shapes are the main elements of this art. This is because in Islam, it is believed that images of people ages is a return to pagan idolatry. So instead of Islamic art is used drawings (arabesque). Islamic art has changed with the change of ruling periods. The evolution of Islamic art began from the Fatimid period.

 Examples of the architecture of the Fatimid period are the mosque El Azhar and Hakim Be Amr Allah Mosque. The following period was that of the Ayyubids, and citadel is the best example of the art and architecture of this time period in Egypt. The Mausoleum of Sultan Al Mansour Qalawon symbolizes the Mamluk Bahri. The Mamluk Bahri Mamluks Circassean follow and they built many school buildings like the Mausoleum of El Zahir Baybers and Mausoleum of Sultan El Ghuri. Mosque of Mohammed Ali embodied the Ottoman period.












Jewel Palace

 The Jewel Palace (Qaser Al Gawhara) in the Citadel



I have lived in Cairo all of my life. That's 27 years, but perhaps surprisingly, I had in all that time never visited the Citadel, though of course it is a very famous monument that of which I was aware. I am sure there were some trips organized by my school, but somehow I missed going. The Citadel is considered a museum for Islamic architecture and was the home of various Egyptian rulers for more than 700 years.

It was founded in the year 1176 by the famous Muslim Commander Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Syyub (Saladin). The Citadel is one of the main tourist attractions in Cairo these days and the southern part of it, where the Mohamed Ali Mosque is located, is the place most visited by tourists.
 Jewel Palace

 Jewel Palace


There are actually a number of museums located on the grounds of the Citadel. There is the Military Museum, built by Mohamed Ali in 1827. It was the residence for the Egyptian ruler's family until 1874 when Khedive Ismail moved to the newly built Abdeen Palace. The display of the museum consists mainly of uniforms and weapons.

The Police Museum is also found in the Citadel and this small museum illustrates the history of the Egyptian police, which is more than a little interesting. The display consists of weapons, uniforms, and pictures of famous historical Egyptian criminals like Rayya and Sekina, Egypt's version of Jack the Ripper. The two sisters murdered more than 15 women in Alexandria at the beginning of the 20th century.

I took in these museums, but they were not the main reason for my visit I had come to see Qaser Al Gawhara. This was where Mohamed Ali massacred the Mamluks leaders, thus forever ending their long influence on Egypt, and in fact, making Egypt capable leaving behind its feudal past so that it could enter the modern world.

I went to the Citadel at 2:00 pm and was lucky to find a place to park my car as it was really crowded. There were many buses full of students from different schools and colleges coming to visit the Citadel. I had to walk for about 10 minutes going up the hill, but it was a nice day and the short walk was well worth the effort.


 Jewel Palace


I arrived at Bab Al Azab, the gate built by the Ottomans in 1754. I headed towards the Gawhara Palace but I had to stop for a few minutes and admire the Mohamed Ali Mosque. Somehow it seems so different than other mosques in Cairo. I have seen so many mosques in Cairo and all regions of Egypt but the Mohamed Ali Mosque is of the Turkish style and was built to mimic one of the main mosques in Turkey, the center of the Ottoman empire. The Mosque was built between 1830 and 1848 under the rule of Mohamed Ali, who is considered the founder of modern Egypt. His tomb is located to the right of the vast prayer hall area inside the Mosque.

Now I had to move on to the Gawhara Palace (Qasr al-Jawhara, also known as the Bijou Palace, but popularly referred to as The Jewel Palace), which is located near the front of the main door of the Mosque. Qasr Al Gawhara was built by Mohamed Ali in 1814 to house his administration and to receive guests, and as a personal residence. It was basically the government house at that time.


 Jewel Palace


It was named for Gawhara Hanem, the last of Mohamed Ali's wives. The popular name, the Jewel Palace, is a bit misleading. There are few jewels on display here. The name actually derives from the fact that it was used as a museum for the jewels of the Khedives after the 1952 revolution. However, it was gutted by fire in 1972 when thieves attempted to steal the jewels.

Today, it is one of the best 19th century Ottoman constructs in Egypt with Ottoman decoration. However, the palace actually combines elements of Ottoman and European palace plans, dividing the private quarters of the family from the reception areas. The ornamental program borrows heavily from European models. However, it should also be noted that parts of the Jewel Palace are being restored in an overall plan to restore the whole.


 Jewel Palace


Its collections include 19th century royal portraits, costumes and furnishings, along with some truly amazing treasures.  It also 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 decorated the walls.

Upon entering the palace, the first thing one sees is a huge mirror in a gold plated frame and pedestal. This was put there so the guests could examine themselves when entering the Palace and fix their appearance, such as making any adjustments to their clothing, hat or hair. Then, one would have to take the stairs to the second floor where another huge mirror can be found. Here, there are portraits of the rulers of Egypt from the time of Mohammad Ali and later, along with depictions of life in Egypt during the Ottoman Period. But what perhaps caught my eye the most were the gleaming white statues of angels attached to the walls, which make them appear to be flying about.


 Jewel Palace


The third floor is the main guests' hall. It contains the golden throne of Mohammed Ali in the throne room, which is elevated above the remainder of the floor. The throne itself is made of ebony and covered by gold. It was a present to the King from Italy, and remains one of the finest thrones in the world. Some say that its only rival is the peacock throne that belonged to the Shah of Iran.



 Jewel Palace


To the right and the left of the hall, there are many chairs where court officials and guests would once have been seated in the presence of the king. This is truly what one would expect of such a place, with wonderful  red carpets on the floor and huge lamps hanging form the ceiling. At the end of the hall, there is an Arabian style sofa in the shape of a rectangle where guests would sit while awaiting an audience with the king. It has a huge golden fountain in the middle and a big portrait on the wall. There is also an open air hall in the middle of the palace that was used in celebrating different events during the Ottomans period. It is decorated in the Islamic style with big, heavy doors all around.

 Jewel Palace

Another part of the palace is known as the Kusha hall. The Kusha is supported by four gilded columns, linked from above by a gilded network. The thrones of the bride and bridegroom are placed under the columns. Among the items on display in the hall are a wedding photo, crystals and watches dating back to the 18th century, and a French styled salon.

During his first years ruling Egypt, Mohamed Ali had to fight the Mamluks in order to have full authority over Egypt. So it was to this palace that he invited the Mamluks leaders to a feast celebrate his son, Tusun Pasha, appointment to lead an army being sent against the Wahhabi rebellion in Arabia. Mohammad Ali let the Mamluks have their feast, but on the way out, Mohamed Ali and his soldiers trapped them in a section of the palace and assassinated just about every one of the leaders in one of the most famous incidents in modern Egyptian history.

 Jewel Palace

Just in front of the Gawhara Palace and the Mohamed Ali Mosque is a vast open area that some people refer to as the Cairo View. As the name implies, it offers a grand view of Cairo, but particularly the Islamic monuments. Today, kids were running all about this open area, which seems to be a fine playground while the adults look out to try to spot their homes, hotels or other landmarks. A huge fountain stands in the middle of this open area, where water once gushed from the mouths of lions. This is indeed a nice place to take in Cairo after a stroll through the Gawhara Palace.


The Silver Jug with a Golden Handle


The Silver Jug with a Golden Handle in the Form of a Goat


This jug, made of silver and gold, looks like a pomegranate with a golden handle in the shape of a goat. The goat's legs give the impression of movement.

The Silver Jug with a Golden Handle


Around the jug is a decoration of hearts, perhaps as a sign of protection. After the hearts there are hieroglyphic texts that may be magical spells for drinking or to purify the contents of the jug.

Model Altar in the Form of a Temple Facade


This pylon, or gateway, was discovered at Tell el-Amarna. It is related to the cult of the royal family, which has been noticed in stela found in private houses at Amarna. It was believed that the royal family acted as intermediaries between the gods and the people.


This example is a household altar, or shrine, in the form of the pylon of the temple. The walls of the two wings of the pylon are symmetrically decorated with scenes of the king, Queen Nefertiti, and their eldest daughter. They are worshiping and making offerings to the god.



The king with his swollen belly wears the Blue Crown on his customarily exaggerated head. The queen wears a tall Blue Crown and a long transparent garment. The sun disk, the Aten, radiates his benefits of life and energy to the royal couple.

Wesekh Collar

Wesekh Collar Made of Colored Faience



This openwork collar was discovered at Tell el-Amarna near the royal palace. It was probably worn by one of the royal princesses or one of the two queens.

It consists of seven rows made of faience separated by horizontal strings of small beads. These rows have different shapes of lotus petals, the first four rows have a round shape while the other three rows have a cylindrical shape. 

Wesekh Collar


The rows are painted in bright colors; yellow, blue, red, green, white and violet. The collar ends by two lotus flower painted in yellow, white, blue and green.


Bronze adze head

Bronze adze head


Bronze adze head

Bronze adze head, from el-`Amarna, the city founded in Middle Egypt as Residence and centre of the sun-cult under Akhenaten.