Al-Suhaymi House

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Al-Suhaymi House

Al-Suhaymi House


Al-Suhaymi House considered to be a vivid example of aristocratic family housing in the Islamic Middle Ages, It is the only integrated house that represents the architecture of Cairo in the Ottoman era.

Al-Suhaymi House is located in Al-Darb Al-Asfar Lane, It is one of the oldest lanes in Cairo, it's offed Al-Muizz Street, the house of Al-Suhaimi was known by that name in relation to the last inhabitant of it, who was sheikh of Al-Azhar Muhammed Amin Al-Suhaimi.


Al-Suhaymi House

Who was Muhammed Amin Al-Suhaimi?

Sheikh Muhammad Amin al-Suhaimi was the last owner of the house, he was born in Mecca, and came to Egypt to settle there, his goal in life was to search for the righteous saints of God in all parts of the world, he was generous, philanthropist for the poor, his home was a destination for knowledge, and a source of good, he was a university professor at Al-Azhar University, for Turkish students studying at Al-Azhar.

History of place

When Al-Suhaymi died in 1928, his widow saw the need to replace the house, especially after it had become uninhabited, when King Fuad I learned of this, he issued a royal decree stipulating the allocation of 6 thousand pounds, to buy it, and add it to the Committee for the Preservation of Arab and Islamic Antiquities.

Restoration

Despite the importance of the house as one of the most important Islamic monuments in Cairo, it remained marginalized, and neglected for many years, as a result of the poor condition of the house, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, 14,000 cracks were discovered in the foundations of the house.


Al-Suhaymi House

It was restored with a grant from the Arab Fund for Economic Development, at a cost of ten million pounds, during the restoration process, workers found fossils confirming that the house was built on rubble, and the remains of buildings dating back to the Fatimid era, the restoration, and development work of Al-Suhaymi House continued from 1996 to 2000, With the completion of the restoration, a decision was issued to transform the house into a center for artistic creativity, affiliated to the Cultural Development Fund at the Egyptian Ministry of Culture.


The area of ​​the house is about two thousand square meters, it contains 115 rooms, where all the meanings of luxury, and comfort was in it, the house has archaeological writings that include the date of construction, the originator, and also the poem of al-Burdah, by Imam al-Busiri, which was characterize the facilities of the Ottoman era, was found in it, in the backyard of the house, there is a grain mill.

Al-Suhaymi House

water wheel

Design

The architecture of the house is designed according to the Ottoman system, which allocates, the ground floor for men called Salamlek, and it is intended to receive male guests, and it does not contain any other rooms or halls.


The second floor is called the Haramlek, and it is the part designated for women, it is forbidden for stranger men to enter it, and only the owner of the house can enter it, it includes a room called "the permission hall", where the women  guests were waiting there, until the women of the house are ready to receive them, in addition to a maternity hall.

Bathrooms

In the time Europe community only known the public bathrooms, Egyptian houses in that era were distinguished by the presence of bathrooms inside it, as Al-Suhaymi house had two bathrooms with a vaulted ceiling, one of them is used in the summer with good ventilation, to prevent the summer heat, the other was used in the winter where there is a stove, to heat the water, for massages, and heating, while the bedrooms in that house has no beds to sleep in, as is the case today, its residents slept on mattresses made of the finest types of marigolds, which were decorated with beautiful artistic motifs.

Al-Suhaymi House

The house has wells for water in the garden

Garden 

  • Surprisingly, there are two trees, the age of which is the same age as the house, that is, more than 350 years, one of them is an olive tree and the other is a sidr (Nabq) tree.

Basement

Political life was not stable, during that historical period, therefore it was necessary for every house to have secret doors, that appear to be part of the wall, in a certain way they open leading to a basement, to be completely outside the house, to enable its residents to flee in case of danger, in the "House of Al-Suhaymi" these secret doors still exist until today.

A fairy tale akin to a myth

In one of the rooms of the house there are two bones from the backbone of a whale, which are visited daily by dozens of woman Egyptians, Arabs, and even foreigners, as it is believed that passing over the two bones of the whale 7 times, makes the spinster marry, and the sterile woman can conceive.


 

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