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