Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Gayer Anderson Museum

Al Masry Al Youm

With photos.

Cairo’s Gayer Anderson Museum may be a little difficult to find, but the importunate visitor is sure to be rewarded with a beautiful and artistic experience.

Also known as Bayt al-Kritliyya (“The house of the Cretan woman”), the three-story palace is home to a collection of eastern furniture and architecture. The rooms of the museum, based on the traditional layout of the bedrooms and living rooms found in Middle and Far Eastern homes of the 18th and 19th centuries, bring the ghosts of these bygone cultures to life and allow visitors to walk through them.

Walking towards the museum in the old streets of Sayida Zeinab, visitors will notice the mosques and the beautiful but timeworn walls of Old Cairo. The Mosque of Ibn Tulun, the area’s main attraction, has not suffered the same fate, as various restoration efforts are being carried out to keep the mosque in good condition.

But the Gayer Anderson museum itself, unfortunately, is not slated for restoration.

“I had a plan to renovate the museum,” says Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), the minute I walked into his office. “I wanted to restore it and work on the displays. I’ve also been planning to host cultural events such as performances, music concerts and parties on the roof,” adds Hawas. These plans, however, were put off due to budget constraints.

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