A stroll down Cairo’s Muezz El Din Allah Street will bring you through a busy area of Egypt’s famous Khan El Khalili. Beyond the narrow alley of jewellery shops and eager shopkeepers, this famous street opens up and becomes a charming cobblestone street. This northerly end of Muezz Street is home to several attractions and has seen a bit of a revival over the past decade. Much of this is due to the renovations of Beit El Suheimi, one of Cairo’s historical treasures.

Beit El Suheimi is a complex of two homes built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Thanks to Cairo’s prime location on the trade route, many of the city’s residents lived in elegant homes, and Beit El Suheimi is considered one of the finest remaining examples of merchant homes.

The complex had long fallen to ruins with walls crumbling and wooden screens broken apart. For years, Beit El Suheimi sat in its dilapidated state, unused and unappreciated. However, a painstaking 1990s project to restore the historic site to its original state proved not only beneficial for the building; but for the entire neighbourhood as well.

Since the massive renovation of Beit El Suheimi, the structure is now open to the public as a museum and for a variety of performances. During Ramadan, the house is an especially popular site for concerts and performances organised by the Ministry of Culture. Beit El Suheimi is also great year-round for Tannoura dances and storytelling or for a quiet afternoon tour.

Tickets cost 3LE for Egyptians and 30LE for foreigners to tour the house any day from 9AM to 5PM. Through the large wooden gates and down a dark hallway, Beit El Suheimi opens to a central courtyard that would be flooded with light if it weren’t for the palm trees shading the grassy spot below.

The first room of the house is a grand reception with impressively high ceilings and a long chandelier. Despite the simple stone walls, the room is grand with intricate wooden mashrabeya screens allowing for minimal light but incredible privacy. The beautifully designed screens are a feature throughout the house, adding a rich tonal contrast to the stone structure.

Several more grand rooms make up the first floor of the structure. Any visitors that are afraid of the dark or do not enjoy enclosed spaces may not want to explore Beit El Suheimi much further. The second floor is a bit of a maze, and dark, thin halls often lead to darker rooms with low ceilings. Some of the rooms are completely empty except for a layer of dust caked to the walls, while others have carpets and a few tables and accessories. One second-floor room lacks the screened windows but has a lovely balcony with a bright view of the courtyard below. This room has a seating area and is great for catching your bearings while exploring the rather disorienting house.

After exploring the maze of the house, the last stop should be behind Beit El Suheimi, where a second courtyard displays a series of photographs depicting images of Beit El Suheimi before, during and after the recent massive renovations.