Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Lured to the House of Taz

Egytpian Gazette (Nayrouz Talaat)

The story on this URL will expire shortly, so it has been reproduced in full here.

The Egyptian Ministry of Culture is saving the treasures of Islamic Cairo, one of the most popular of them being the Mameluke Amir Taz Palace, also known as 'Dar' Taz (the House of Taz) in Historic Cairo.

Many people visit the palace, built by Emir Taz in 1352 AD to celebrate his marriage to the Sultan An-Nasir Mohamed's daughter.

Recently, the enchanting palace has been a venue for a lot of cultural events. Taz el-Nasiri was a Mameluke of the army of Mohamed Qalaoun, who became Sultan in AH 725 (AD 1351). Taz rose through the ranks and became the 'Amir Majilis' (Prince of Councils). Later, Amir Taz was forced to renounce his magnificent palace and move elsewhere in search of peace of mind, far away from the conspiracies of Cairo.

The ancient palace, along with its annexes, gardens and other buildings in the complex, was built on a huge rectangular plot overlooking a main commercial street named el-Seyoufiyah and another smaller alley named Darb el-Sayh Halil. It is situated near el-Salibah Street, around the corner from Sabil Om Abbas.

The palace was transformed at the end of the 19th century into an Egyptian girls' school during the rule of Ali Pasha Mubarak. Later, it was used as a depot for educational supplies and as the main storehouse for the Ministry of Education's school textbooks. But it was severely damaged in the earthquake in 1992. Its Haramlek, a section for women, bore the brunt of damage.

Today, only three-quarters of the fa├žade and entrance are visible, as the street level has risen over the years.On the first floor is the main qa'a, which follows the classic traditional design, with two iwans opposite each other.

The qa'a has two entrances: the main one opens onto a marble staircase, while the other leads to the private quarters of the establishment and the second floor. Many of the rooms are in good condition and show traces of the original plaster and paintings.After renovations, Taz Palace was reopened by First Lady Suzanne Mubarak in October 2005. The palace is easily accessible from the Salah Salem Street. Taz Palace is located at 27, el-Seyoufiyah Street off el-Salibah Street, el-Khalifa district, between Ibn Toloun Mosque and the Citadel Square. (For further information, please contact 25142581).

No comments: