El Seheimy House Cairo Egypt tours, booking, prices, reviews
El Seheimy house Cairo built by Abdel Wahab El Tablawy in 1648. The house purchased in 1796 by Sheikh Ahmed Al Suhaimi. He extended it by integrating several of the adjacent houses. Nowadays the house is the best example of a rich private house. It is especially after its restoration process. The house demonstrates a lot of arts in this period. The period and how people used to live in the Ottoman period. El Seheimy house Cairo is the first building on the left hand side of Darb El Asafar. In fact, Darb El Asafar is a narrow corridor in Fatimid, Cairo. From the outside, the building seems to be in a good state. The house restored in 1997. It was under the auspices of the Arab Fund for Economic Development.
Many mashrabeya windows, which can seen from outside the house. Once you enter El Seheimy house Cairo you are inside the sahn of the house. The Sahn is an interior open space in the middle of the house courtyard. It is usually a rectangular or square shape. It used to gain fresh air in the house. In the morning some simple activities once took place in the sahn. In the middle of this open hall, there is a small and healthy garden full of small trees and palms. The house built around this area and many brown mashrabeya windows can be seen all around it. At the end of this hall, there is a place for sitting beside some windows. It is where residents of the house would relax in the summer.
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After entering the doorway of El Seheimy house Cairo, you will find many rooms with huge wooden doors. They used for servants to stay in and cook or do anything needed in the house. One of the rooms to the left had a fascinating mashrabeya screen with small windows. This is to enable the people inside the room to view the Sahn. At the end of this corridor there is the first guest room or salamlek. It used by El Seheimy to welcome his male guests. To the right, there is a sitting area with a small Mashrabeya screen. This hall is a good example of the salamlek, or public place, as opposed to the haremlek. Most of the Salamlek area is on the ground floor. The haremlek is on the upper floor.
In the Islamic culture, house were “Sakan”. This word derived from “Sekoon” which means quietness and privacy. This notion well respected during the archaic Islamic period. The next hall is the summer salamlek guest room. It built at the end of the corridor and overlooks the street. This is to enjoy the cool air during the summer. Most of the spaces in El Seheimy house Cairo are not designed functionality. They designed but basing on climatic considerations. This hall has one of the most remarkable mashrabeya screens in the house. It overlooks on the street. It is a big screen with three different decorative shapes and stained glass at the top of the screen. People would sit on the pillows on the floor and chat in the summer.
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There are also the wooden brown cupboards all around just like the first guest room. In the second floor of the house, you will find some balconies. One significant aspect of thess balconies is the Islamic decorations on the walls. There are many Qur’an verses around the balconies which written in a gold color with a brown background. The balcony is also a wonderful place to view the mashrabeya windows of El Seheimy house Cairo. It is from outside, and view the open air hall. In fact, the maq’ad of the house is a rectangular or square room . It is where the owner of the house would sit with his family, sons, daughters and close friends. This more private space is like any other section of the house.
The room is full of brown cupboards and another amazing mashrabeya screen. It has also tables in the middle and sofas all around. Al Suhaimi House is famous for it’s many halls, especially the haremlek. This hall has high and pretty decorated ceiling. It allows the warmer air to rise. And then to be swept away by the north facing maq’ad (wind scoops) in the upper walls. It catches the prevailing breezes and circulated the cool air throughout the house. There is also the charming wooden carved dome of the hall. The ceilings of these houses are usually interesting. It makes the ceilings we live in these days seem boring and depressing. The ceilings in the past were works of art.
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The bathroom section is the most interesting place in El Seheimy house Cairo. It divided into three sections. The first section is the cold water section. It is a small room with a wooden cupboard inside. It is where they used to keep the cold water in a huge container. This room has no ceiling so that the gold wind could come and cool down the water in the cupboard. The second section of the bathroom is the massage section. It is also a small room with only a big wooden bed to the right. Moreover, it has the most amazing ceiling you will ever see. It has star shaped openings in it which covered with blue, orange, and white glass. The sun light enters the room through these openings. When enters, it looks like the stars in the sky on a clear night.
You can see massage halls in five stars hotels and in health clubs all over Egypt. But nothing like this room. Having a massage in this room while looking at the sky would be like gazing into heaven. The third section of the bathroom is the hot water section. It has the same amazing ceiling as the massage room. In the middle, there is a water tap. Moreover, to the right there is a big container that used for keeping hot water. There is also a cupboard behind the tap that used to keep the bathing items. They used to let the hot water fall on the floor. The three small openings in the wall enabled the water flow out of the room.
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There is also a toilet section, which is like most of the “local” toilets. We still have in some places in Egypt. It is just a small hall in the ground. In fact, it takes the waste into pipes and out of El Seheimy house. Another interesting section in the house which is the main rest and sleeping room of El Seheimy and his wife. Some people call this room the blue hall because of its many blue decorations. On the right hand side, there is a sitting area with pillows. Besides the many mashrabeya screens spread around the room. The room ornamented with the most elegant blue tiles on the walls. This room suited to a king, with all its the marvelous decorations.
Even the mashrabeya screens in This room, in particular, was for women. No men, other than sons and the father, allowed inside. In the middle, there is a table which used for drinking coffee. The coffee jar and mugs are still there. There are also a lot of blue and decorated plates in the room. They are atop the many brown wooden cupboards that once again fill this room. There are also some plates which actually used for food and not just decoration. The ceiling designed in a Persian style, which makes it look as though there are steps above one’s head. It is like the sleeping room in the Gayer Anderson Museum.
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There are many old lanterns in the room, hanging from the high ceiling. One of them is unique, looking like a tower of lights. There is also a small room that one may enter from the main bedroom of El Seheimy house. This room only contains two strange objects. There is an interesting myth. If a woman wants to become pregnant, she would circle these two objects seven times. And then God will send her a baby. It indeed is a strange concept. In fact, Egypt in the 17th century had a lot of strange myths and legends.