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Bayt Al Suhaymi: A Museum of Islamic Art in Old Cairo

Bayt Al-Suhaymi is a must-visit place in old Cairo. It is an example showing the exquisite life of a rich family in the Ottoman era, yet considered an Islamic museum that shows how charming was Islamic architecture in the 17th century. The house was built by Abdel Wahab El Tablawy in 1648, and Sheikh Ahmed Al Suhaymi bought it in 1796. It is located in an area called Al-Darb al-Asfar in Al-Moez street.

Mashrabiya artwork

What makes the house unique is its inner garden or courtyard that is surrounded by entrances leading to halls and rooms in the ground and above floors. Balconies and artistic windows are looking as well to the courtyard. These artistic windows are called Mashrabiya windows. Mashrabiya is a woodwork masterpiece that features the mesmerizing Islamic art, and is displayed in many sizes and shapes. The beautiful decoration of latticework that is incorporated in Mashrabiya apparently has a purpose to control the harshness of the sunlight.

Mashrabiya in Islamic architecture in Old Cairo
Mashrabiya shows the art of wooden latticework. (Photo: by My Picks Magazine)
Mashrabeya in Bayt Al Suhaymi in Islamic Cairo
Mashrabiya windows are looking to the inner garden. (Photo: by My Picks Magazine)

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How the ceiling is decorated

The high ceiling is a notable characteristic in most of the halls and rooms. The ceiling is illustrating a splendid wooden artwork, moreover, it displays geometric ornamentation. Another decoration element of the ceiling are lanterns, they are in different shapes and are hanged above to add more beauty to the ceiling.

decorated ceiling in Islamic architecture and Islamic lanterns
Decorated ceiling and different lanterns shapes. (Photo: by My Picks Magazine)

Fine Arabic calligraphy on the walls

The walls are decorated with charming Arabic calligraphy, an example of this, some verses written on the walls from a poem called Al Burda. The poem is in praise of Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him).

Arabic calligraphy in Islamic art. Al Burda Poem
A verse from Al Burda poem written on the wall. (Photo: by My Picks Magazine)


Big halls are marked with colored tiles that show geometric shapes, they also include fountains made of white marble.

white marble fountain in Islamic Architecture
A fountain in one of the halls. (Photo: by My Picks Magazine)

Horseshoe arch style

The style of horseshoe arch which is considered a main Islamic architecture style is displayed obviously in the interior design of the house.

Horseshoe arch style in Islamic architecture in Old cairo
Horseshoe arch style in the interior design of the house. (Photo: by My Picks Magazine)

Shimmering colored glass on the ceiling of the dome

Another section of the house includes a wide garden attached to the courtyard. A breathtaking dome is located inside this garden and it has definitely a special ceiling. A distinctive combination of colored shimmering glass is placed on the sculptural ceiling of the dome. When looking closer, some shapes of the glass are forming trees, while the rest are geometric shapes.

Islamic dome in Bayt Al Suhaymi in Old Cairo
The dome in the garden. (Photo; by My Picks Magazine)
Ceiling in Islamic architecture in Old Cairo
Shimmering glass on the ceiling of the dome. (Photo: by My Picks Magazine)

The house of Al Suhaymi features different Islamic art elements and shows how was an Islamic Egyptian home in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is, by all means, a museum of Islamic art. You can find directions to the house here.

Book your tour to visit Islamic Cairo town:

Cairo: Best Kept Secrets Night Tour.

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