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Al Harrawi house Cairo Beit Al Oud Beit Al Harrawi

Al Harrawi house Cairo Egypt

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Al Harrawi House Cairo (Beit El Harrawi) built in 1731 by Ahmed Ben Youssef El Serafi. In fact, Al Harrawi House indeed is one of the fine examples of the Islamic houses representing the Ottoman era. The house named after its last owner, Abdel Rahman Al Harrawi. He was a doctor at Qasr El Ayini Medical School. Moreover, Al Harrawi House Cairo located in the heart of a well known quarter in Cairo. It is behind Al Azhar Mosque. Furthermore, the house situated between two narrow Haraa (Alley). They are Haret Al Madrassa and Zuqaq Al Ayini. In fact, several other Islamic houses and monuments found in the Darb El Ahmar surroundings. Furthermore, the house has a common wall with Sitt Wasila house. It is next to the Zeinab Khatoun house and to the Ghannamiah Hall.

Moreover, the house is also at a near distance is Al Ayini Mosque (15th century). Al Harrawi house’s main entrance is through Zuqaq Al Qasr alley. In fact, it no longer used. In spite of its importance, the house has a small street facade. Al Harrawi house’s southern facade is remarkable. This because of its height and a quite impressive large wooden Masshrabeyya. They show the presence of a Qaa on the first floor. Qaa means hall. The secondary entrance used nowadays was a later addition that dates back to the 19th century. It located right next to Sitt Wasila House. As you enter through the southern door, a long corridor leads you into the courtyard.

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In fact, the courtyard is an open air area controlling the entrance to all parts of the house. What is noticeable is the absence of a secondary space or porch which called “Maguaz”. It was one of the important Islamic design concepts which used to conceal the interior of the house. The women living in it. This tradition became less strict in the late 18th century. One of the main attractions of Al Harrawi House is the “Mandara”. It is a spacious sitting hall on the ground floor that occupies all the East wing of the house. The “Mandara” served as Male-guests reception area. It is a space that is quiet common in Islamic Houses. The “Mandara” designed in a manner consisting of three specific halls.

In fact, the entrance to this hall is always through the middle section which called the “Durqaa“. It is where you find an octagonal fountain decorated with mosaic pieces. The marble flooring and geometrical designs of the “Durqaa” are exceptional. Two “Iwan(s)” surround the fountain where one was always at a higher level. That is why the Master of the house could sit there in the middle of his guests. The ceiling ornamented with painted drawings. The walls-built-in cupboards in various colors distinguish those two “Iwans”. Iwans mean halls. Fountains were always the center of the “Qaa”. They were an essential element in Islamic building due to several reasons.

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In fact, during those times, spying was common. It believed that fountains and the noise of running water was a way to prevent curious spies. They overhear what said between others. Moreover, the fountain was also an important design concept functioning. It is a natural method for cooling air during hot summer days. On the first floor, the main Qaa occupies the southern part of the house. The predominant spread color is blue, which gives an wonderful artistic combination. The ceiling of this hall considered evolutionary in the construction methods. It is also in the decorations. The first floor of Al Harrawi House consists of the private rooms. They reached by unique stairs in the eastern side of the yard.

Just a few walls still remain on the second floor, only the rooms above the Mandara. In fact, they still stand intact. Al Harrawi house is one of a few that remained in good shape over the years. It restored several times by the French Comite de Conservation between 1920 and 1950. The Comite de Conservation known to have worked on many other Islamic monuments in Cairo. A French architect called Bernard Maurey restored the house. It was under the supervision of the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology. At the moment Al Harrawi House reused as a Cultural Center. It is where different cultural events, lectures musical gala and artistic expositions take place. In fact, the house Cairo also known as Beit Al Oud. Beit and Manzel mean house.

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Zeinab Khatoun house Cairo

Zeinab Khatoun House

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Zeinab Khatoun house indeed is one of the most remarkable houses which left nowadays. In fact, the house occupies a distinguished location at the back of Al-Azhar Mosque in Azhary alley. Zeinab Khatoun house named after its last owner. Two other important houses are near to Zeinab Khatoun house. They are El Harrawi house and Sitt Wasila house. In fact, most of Islamic houses had the same architectural design. They composed usually of a central open courtyard around. The rest of the house chambers distributed. This is including the main spaces such as the “Salamlik” and Haramlek. Salamlek is men quarter and Haramlek is women quarter. Zeinab Khatoun house features simple stone facade with small windows. It is missing the presence of the luxurious wooden Mashrabeyya windows.

To the right of the entrance space a small room called “Maguaz”. It always found in old Islamic Houses. Moreover, it has a function of preserving the privacy of the household from curious eyes. Furthermore, two other separate chambers accessed through the “Maguaz”. Both men quarters used to attend to business affairs away from the house activity. On the ground floor is another Mashrabeyya screen behind which lies the men quarters. Usually the “Mandara” had a middle section of a slightly raised area. It arranged and decorated for the Master of the house. It seated in the middle of his guests elevated in a position of honor. The room found next to the “Mandara” looks on to a backyard. It is with an inner staircase leading to the main women hall.

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The presence of the two storerooms next to the backyard on the northern wall leads to the assumption. That area used as the kitchen. The ground floor all built with clean cut stones. The upper floors used with the “Maqaad” on the first floor of the Southern facade for an exception. It is where stones also used. The “Maqad” (an open loggia) reached through a few steps in the “Hosh”. In fact, it leads to a tall monumental portal. Its proportions are kind of unsuccessful. The most impressive hall in Zeinab Khatoun house is indeed the main women hall. It is a majestic hall with perfect proportions and marvelous decorations. Moreover, it composed of the usual three sections. They are the Durqaa with two unequal iwans from each side at a higher level. In fact, Durqa is the central section.

Iwans are sitting areas. In the middle of the marble tiled flooring of the Durqaa is a mosaic. In fact, it inlaid octagonal fountain. The hall distinguished for its beautiful carved wooden ceiling and rich colors. The elegant architectural style and simplicity of the lines used in Sultan Qaitbay era. A part from the doorway linking the hall to the private chambers of the master. It also has a door which leads to a private bathroom and another to the secondary hall. It is on the northern side of Zeinab Khatoun house. Moreover, it is less important than the main hall. It constructed due to the need to expand as is the case for the second floor which built later on.

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The main hall probably constructed due to the need. It is to expand as is the case for the second floor which built later on. One can almost picture those Bourgeoisie Houses in big numbers. As they were in old times, one next to the other forming the Urban fabric of old Islamic Cairo. It is where the most important figures of Cairo lived. Zeinab Khatoun house is a fine example of the Ottoman era. It restored lately by Egyptian officials. Now it reused as a cultural center. Many social, musical activities and exhibitions held in Zeinab Khatoun house.

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Beshtak Palace Cairo

Beshtak Palace Cairo Egypt

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Beshtak Palace Cairo situated on the Muizz Avenue in Cairo. The palace of Beshtak is near to Abdel Rahamn Katkhuda Sabil. In fact, it constructed by Prince Beshtak Al Nasiri in 1334. Beshtak Palace Cairo is a structure and Islamic museum in Cairo. It signifies Arabic architecture in the historic period of time in Egypt. Moreover, it has uncommon windows covered with Mashrabiya. The 2nd floor chambers have sharp arches. They also feature stained-glass home windows.

The Beshtak Palace Cairo is almost complete in its actual shape. Furthermore, it has two stories, hall, a compact courtyard and built-in stables. The palace has indeed a wonderful entrance opening onto a side avenue. The long facade acceded with lots of windows. In fact, it opens on the hubbub lane in ancient Cairo. In fact, the palace permitted to re-open in some month’s time. Yet it’s practical to view the courtyard and also the outer facade through the main road.

The Palace of Beshtak is among the great historical sites in Cairo to check out. It is if you’re looking to be familiar with Egyptian culture and history. In fact, Egypt is famous for its plenty of mosques and historic sites. It’s also a great place to but traditional Egyptian souvenirs and additionally handicrafts. Entry gained from the alleyway on the north-side, 2nd entrance. In fact, the Palace implemented only for receptions. Moreover, here are no guest rooms. It is usually open-air and huge pillars. They hold roofing on the many sitting areas. The rooms can found only at the sides of the building.

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In fact, Bestak Palace is near to Al Salih Ayyub complex. The complex located on the famous Moezz Street in Cairo. It dates back to the mid-13th century. In fact, named after its builder, Al Salih Najm Al Din Ayyub. He reigned over Egypt from 1240 till 1249. Moreover, he was last Ayyubid sultan of Egypt. He died defending Egypt against the Crusader attack that led by Louis IX. Furthermore, he was the grandson of the more famous Salah Al Din Ayyub. In fact, he known in the West as Saladdin. Before his death, he built a rather unique school between 1242 and 1244. He then built a mausoleum.

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El Seheimy house Cairo (Beit El Sehemiy) Cairo Egypt

El Seheimy House Cairo Egypt

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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 El Seheimy house Cairo is the best example of a rich private house. It is especially after its restoration process. El Seheimy house Cairo 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. El Seheimy house Cairo 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. El Seheimy 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 El Seheimy house Cairo. 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 El Seheimy house Cairo, 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 El Seheimy house Cairo 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 Cairo. 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 Cairo. 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.

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Cairo Citadel

Cairo Citadel Egypt

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Cairo Citadel indeed is one of Cairo’s most popular tourist attractions. It located on a spur of limestone that detached from its parent Moqattam Hills by quarrying. Moreover, Cairo Citadel is one of the world’s greatest monuments to medieval warfare. In fact, it is a visible landmark on Cairo’s eastern skyline. When viewed from the back side, Cairo Citadel reveals a medieval character. The area where Cairo Citadel located now began it’s life as the “Dome of the Wind”. It is a pavilion which created in 810 by Hatim Ibn Hartama, who was then governor. Indeed this area well known for its cool breeze. In fact, the early governors didn’t realize its strategic importance. However, they used the pavilion for its view of Cairo.

During 1176 and 1183 Salah El Din fortified the area to protect Cairo from Crusaders attacks. Since then, it never been without a military garrison. In fact, it served as both a fortress and a royal city. Legend has it that Salah El Din chose the site for its healthy air. The story goes that he hung pieces of meat up all around Cairo. Everywhere in Cairo the meat spoiled within a day. At Cairo Citadel area, it remained fresh for several days. This location provides a strategic advantage to dominate Cairo and to defend outside attackers. Salah El Din came from Syria. It is where each town had some sort of fortress to act as a stronghold for the local ruler. It was natural that he would carry this custom to Egypt.

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Moreover, Salah El Din used the most modern fortress building techniques to construct Cairo Citadel. Great, round towers built protruding from the walls. The defenders could direct flank fire on those who might scale the walls. In fact, the walls themselves were ten meters (30 ft) high and three meters (10 ft) thick. The Bir Yusuf (Salah El Din’s Well) dug to supply the occupants of the fortress with drinking water. Some 87 meters (285 ft) deep, it cut though solid rock down to the water table. It is not a shaft. There is a ramp large enough. Animals could descend into the well to power the machinery which lifts the water. The well closed to tourists these days.

After the death of Salah al-Din, his nephew, Al Kamel, reinforced the Cairo Citadel. It was by enlarging several of the towers. He encased the Burg al-Haddad (Blacksmith’s Tower) and the Burgar Ramla (Sand Tower). Moreover, he made them three times larger. These two towers controlled the narrow pass between Cairo Citadel and the Muqattam hills. Al Kamel also built some great keeps (towers) around the perimeter of the walls. Three of them can still seen overlooking Cairo Citadel parking area. These massive structures were square, up to 25 meters (80 ft) tall and 30 meters (100 ft) wide. In 1218, upon the death of Al Kamel’s father, Sultan Al Kamel moved his house to Cairo Citadel. It is where he built his palace in what is now the Southern Enclosure.

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In fact, the palace no longer exits. It was the seat of government for the Country of Egypt until the construction of the Abdeen Palace. Mumluks overthrew the Ayyubid rulers in 1250. Their sultan Baybars Al Bunduqdari (1260-77) moved into Al Kamel’s palace. Moreover, he isolated the palace compound by building a wall. It divided the fortress into two separate enclosures. They linked by the Bab (gate) Al Qullah. The area where the palace once stood referred to as the Southern Enclosure. The larger part of Cairo Citadel proper referred to the Northern Enclosure. Al Nasser Muhammad interested with this era. In fact, he ruled during three separate periods (1294-1295, 1299-1309 and 1310-1341). Moreover, he tore down most of the earlier buildings in the Southern Enclosure. He replaced them with grander structures.

Unfortunately, the only remaining facility built by him is the Al Nasser Mohammad Mosque. In fact, it begun in 1318, finished in 1355 and located near the enclosure gate. He built a great Hall of Justice with a grand and green dome. It towered above the other structures in the Southern Enclosure. Beside it built the Qasr Al Ablaq (Striped Palace) with its black and yellow marble. This palace, used for official ceremonies and conducting affairs of state. Moreover, it had a staircase leading down to the Lower Enclosure and the Royal Stables. It is where An-Nasir kept 4,800 horses. The Ottomans controlled Egypt between 1517 and the early 20th century. Much of what we see of Cairo Citadel actually dates back to this period.

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The Lower Enclosure where the stables of Al Nasser known as Al Azeb. It was because some of the Ottoman soldiers, known as the Aazab regiments. These soldiers not allowed to wed until they retired. The word Aazab means bachelor. The Ottomans rebuilt the wall which separates the Northern and Southern Enclosures. It was as well as the Bab Al Quallah. Moreover, they also built the largest tower in today’s Citadel. It is Burg Al Muqattam which rises above the entrance to Cairo Citadel off Salah Salem Highway. In fact, this tower is 25 meters (80 ft) tall and has a diameter of 24 meters (79 ft). In 1754 the Ottomans rebuilt the walls of the Lower Enclosure. He also added a fortified gate called the Bab El Azab.

On the late 16th century, the strict military structure for the Ottoman soldiers deteriorated. During this period, the Aazab troops began to marry. They even allowed to build their own houses within the fortress. By the mid 17th century, Cairo Citadel became an enclosed residential district. Moreover, it became with private shops and other commercial enterprises. It was besides to public baths and a maze of small streets. The Ottoman Mohammad Ali Pasha came to power in 1805. He was indeed one of the great builders of Modern Egypt. Moreover, he was responsible for considerable alteration and building within Cairo Citadel. He rebuilt much of the outer walls and replaced many of the decaying interior buildings. Furthermore, he also reversed the roles of the Northern and Southern Enclosures.

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Moreover, he made the Northern Enclosure his private domain. The Southern Enclosure opened to the public. Mohammad Ali Mosque built in the style called Ottoman Baroque. In fact, it imitates the great religious mosques of Istanbul, today dominates the Southern Enclosure. South of the Mosque in the Hawsh is the Gawhara Palace. Gawhara means jewel. This structure built between 1811 and 1814. Moreover, it housed the Egyptian government until it later moved to the Abdeen Palace. Today there is also the National Police Museum at Cairo Citadel. It built over the site of the Mamluk Striped Palace just opposite the Mosque of Al Nasir Muhammad. Moreover, it has displays of law enforcement dating back to the dynastic period.

In 1983 a hall from the Striped Palace discovered. It buried deep beneath rubble, and can be seen at the southern end of this terrace. The terrace also provides a wonderful view of Cairo. Through Bab Al Qullah in the Northern Enclosure one finds Mohammad Ali’s Harim Palace. The palace built in the same Ottoman style as the Jewel Palace. The statue in front is of Ibrahim Pasha by Charles Cordier. The Palace served as a Family house for the Khedive. It was until the government moved to Abdeen Palace. Moreover, it was a military hospital during the British occupation. It only returned to Egyptian control after World War II. Since 1949, it is the Military Museum of Egypt In fact, it founded by King Farouk. The Museum has many artifacts illustrating warfare in Egypt.

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One of the most interesting attractions is indeed the Summer Room. This room contains an elaborate system of marble fountains and basins. It also has channels meant as a cooling system, and is the last such example in Cairo. In the livery court behind the carriage gate of the museum, there is a statue of Sulayman Pasha. The satatue stood in the city center. Just beyond this museum is a small Carriage Museum in what was the British Officer’s mess until 1946. Just behind this museum is the Burg Al Turfah (Masterpiece Tower).

Burg Al Turfah is one of the largest square towers. It built by Al Kamel in 1207. Near the far end of the Northern Enclosure is the Sulayman Pasha Mosque. The mosque was the first Ottoman style mosque built in Egypt and dates back to 1528. In fact, it built to serve the early Ottoman troops. Today Cairo Citadel is one of Egypt main attractions. It is often the most popular non-pharaonic monuments. One may walk through time here, from the medieval era onward. Many other wonderful Islamic structures are nearby. A walk from Cairo Citadel to Khan El Khalili is indeed a delightful experiences.

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