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“Charming” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Gayer-Anderson Museum (Bayt al-Kiritliya)

Gayer-Anderson Museum (Bayt al-Kiritliya)
4 Maydan Ibn Tulun | Old Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
02/364-7822
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Ranked #30 of 144 Attractions in Cairo
Type: Historic Sites, Art Museums, Museums
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Attraction details
Owner description: This museum features the items of antiquity collected by John Gayer-Anderson, a British member of the Egyptian civil service in the 1930s and ‘40s, who restored two adjacent 16th- and 17th-century houses decorated with mashrabiyya screens and marble inlays.
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
38 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Charming”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2012 via mobile

This is a wonderful place with a wonderful setting and amazing views. Many photo opportunities, and you get special photography privileges if you pay the extra ticket at the gate. You must be accompanied by a free guide, though you are expected to tip him. It's a good idea, because my guide (Ramadan), pointed out all the good angels for best pictures to take. The place is badly preserved and will not last long this way, which is the fault of the government body in charge ( probably true forest of Egypt). The fact the Ibn Tolon mosque is right next to it gives it extra visiting value .

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45 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Cairo, Egypt
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Gayer Anderson Museum ,”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

Hi Every one i would like to share my awesome experience that i gain when i visit this place , its really great old house museum may be a little difficult to find, but the importunate visitor is sure to be rewarded with a beautiful and artistic experience.

The construction of private homes against the wall of the Ibn Tulun Mosque was a common practice in the 19th century. But in 1928, the Egyptian government decided to clear the area by demolishing these houses. Fortunately, the government-run Committee for the Conservation of Arab Monuments objected to the demolition of Beit al-Kritliyya--which was first built in 1632--on the grounds that the house was extraordinarily well preserved.

The Gayer Anderson Museum is in fact two housed joint together by a bridge using the outer wall of Ibn Tulun mosque. The larger house located at the East was built by Mohamed Ibn Al Hajj Salem ibn Galman-Al-Gazzr. Later the house was possesed by a Muslim lady from Crete and thats why the house became popularly known as Beit Al Kirityya (House of Cretan Woman). In 1540 a second house was built to the west by Abdel-Qader al-Haddad. It later became known as "Beit Amna bint Salim," after its last owner. The two houses were joined by a bridge at the third floor level at an unknown point, and are both collectively known as Bayt al-Kritliyya.

The museum is a complete Orientalist fantasy: two 16th – century houses joined by a covered bridge, with jasmine-scented court yards, floor cushions and fountains, twisting passage ways, and secret viewing galleries. The Gayer Anderson for whom the place is named was a British officer in Egypt, a keen collector of antiquities. Around 1930, he was allowed to occupy these houses until that time family residences in return for financing their restoration and upkeep. During the decade or more that he lived in the house, he repaired and rebuilt, and added a vast miscellany of paintings and statuettes, small pharaonic antiquities and tribal artifacts to fill the maze of rooms. On his return to England he bequeathed his work and collections to the Egyptian government. There are some legends associated with the houses, including one concerning the courtyard well- said to be a passageway down to the domain of the Sultan Watawit (Lord of Bats) .

Each room in the house is meant to represent the lifestyle of a particular eastern culture. The Damascus Room, for example, is a representation of what a bedroom in an upper-class 18th century Damascus home would look like. The Chinese Room, meanwhile, is the smallest room in the house, replete with tiny furniture and little chairs.

Major Andersen, it seems, had an exaggerated sense of self importance. One of the highlights of the museum is Anderson's bedroom. It includes a massive red bed with four wooden posts and a canopy designed in the Persian style. His English-style library prominently displays a picture of him depicted as the Sphinx. Other rooms in the house hold clay masks of his face and those of his family.

Arguably the most important feature of the museum is its rooftop terrace. Overlooking the Ibn Tulun Mosque, the rooftop is encased by beautifully carved mashrabeyas and boasts its own sundial.

Visited November 2012
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Cairo, Egypt
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
“Experience old Cairo in a house”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2012

This house compose of 2 buildings ehere connected by a bridge. The house is a museum as the last owner "Gayer-Anderson" has added art pieces and rare collections to it before converting it to a museum.

Start with one of the guides there and he willtake you through the history of each and every corner and the origins of each block, stories about the place, the owner and will tell you about the movies were shot in the house out of which one of James Bond movies.

The place is a must visit.

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Kuwait City, Kuwait
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Great for schools aged kids”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

This was probably my favorite museum in Egypt. With original fittings, this place brings history alive and speaks for itself. A little out of the way, but totally worth the trek.

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Cairo, Egypt
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“My dream Home!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2012

i love going there whenever i can... i wish i can live there or at least have a house like that of my own! the Damascus room is just beyond words.. and the house's balcony's and halls require more than a visit to grasp details of decorations and writings of Sufi poems and\or verses of Qura'an on the walls!

Visited June 2012
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