Islamic Art Museum Cairo Egypt tours, prices, booking, reviews

Islamic Art Museum Cairo, Egypt, indeed is one of the greatest in the world. In fact, the museum has an exceptional collection of rare woodwork and plaster artifacts. Moreover, the museum also has metal, ceramic, glass, crystal, and textile objects of all periods. They are from all over the Islamic world. In fact, the Museum displays about 2,500 artifacts in 25 galleries. It houses more than 102,000 objects rest in storage. The collection includes indeed rare manuscripts of the Qur’an. They have some calligraphy written in silver ink, on pages with elaborate borders. Moreover, the Islamic Art Museum conducted archaeological excavations in Fustat area. Furthermore, it organized many national and international exhibitions.

The museum closed for renovations in 2003, and re-opened 8 years later, in August 2010. The restoration cost was about ten million USD. Khedive Ismail approved to establish a museum of Arab Art in the Courtyard of Baybars mosque. In fact, it not carried out until 1880. It was when Khedive Tawfiq ordered the Ministry of Endowments to set it up. Julius Franz was an Austrian Scholar of Hungarian Descent. Moreover, he also was the Head of the Technical department at the Awqaf. He suggested that the ruined Mosque of Al Hakim to be a provisional seat for the Museum. It was in 1881. A gallery furnished there in the eastern arcade. It consisting of 111 architectural pieces taken from other monuments.

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In the same year, Khedive Tawfiq approved the “Committee of Arab Antiquities”. Its duties included running the arab museum and providing it with objects. As a result, the arcades of the mosque filled to overflowing. In 1884, a two-storey structure built in the courtyard. It was to house the collection of 900 objects. In 1887 Max Hertz, also Austro-Hungarian, replaced Julius Franz. He began making many changes. He suggested the name of the Museum back then as the gallery of Arab Antiquities. By 1895 the collection numbered to 1,641. The new building became too crowded. That was why he requested the Awqaf to build a larger Museum.

In 1899 the foundations laid for the present larger building in Bab Al-Khalq area of Cairo. In fact, the Islamic Art Museum building designed by Alfonso Manescalo. It completed in 1902 in new Mamluk style. Moreover, the museum upper story housing the National Library. The old museum in Al Hakim demolished in the 1970, during refurbishment of the mosque there. Islamic Art Museum faces Historic Cairo. It has two entrances. One on the north-eastern side and the other on the south-eastern side. A beautiful garden with a fountain once led to the first entrance but later removed. The entrance on Port Said Street features a luxurious facade. It is rich with decorations and recesses. They inspired by Islamic architecture in Egypt from various periods.

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Islamic Art Museum is a two-stores building. The lower one contains the exhibition halls. The upper floor contains the general stores. The basement contains a store connected with the Restoration Section. On January 24th, 2014 a car bomb attack targeting the Cairo police headquarters. It caused considerable damage to the Museum. In fact, it destroyed many artifacts. It estimated that 20-30% of the artifacts will need restoration. The blast also damaged the buildings facade. It erased intricate designs in the Islamic style. The Egyptian National Library and Archives in the same building also affected.


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