For the past few months, we’ve been exploring some of the iconic museums all over Cairo, including the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, and most recently, the Egyptian Geological Museum. In each article, we shed light on their exhibitions, designs, architectural styles, and history. If you think those are the only landmarks that Egypt has to provide, guess again! Today, we add an exceptional museum to the collection, considered one of the greatest of its kind globally, and impressively rated 4.5 on Trip Advisor, the Museum of Islamic Art.
According to Arab News, the Museum of Islamic Art, located in the Bab Al-Khalk area in the heart of Cairo, currently contains more than 100,000 antiquities within its walls from India, China, Iran, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, North Africa, and Andalusia. The source also revealed some interesting information that was entirely new to us.
Firstly, it is the largest educational institute in the world in the fields of Islamic archaeology and Islamic art. It is also famous for its diverse collection, including works of metal, wood, and textiles, not to mention the art, coins, weapons, tombstones, and manuscripts, dating to different eras and countries. Secondly, the idea of a museum in Egypt dedicated to Islamic art and archaeology began during the reign of the grandson of Mohammed Ali Pasha, Ismail Pasha, who ruled from 1863 to 1879. Lastly, it was initially called the House of Arab Antiquities, before the July 23 Revolution and was officially opened on the 28th of December, 1903.
“The Museum of Islamic Art is one of the largest museums of Islamic archaeology in the world, thanks to its rare archaeological artefacts related to Egypt’s Islamic heritage,” said Elham Salah, Head of the Museum Department at the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.
The most well-known and tragic event that occurred was in 2014, when a car bomb exploded, close to the city’s Security Directorate, and sadly many of the exhibits were damaged or destroyed. In January 2017, President Abdul Fattah El-Sisi and Minister of Antiquities, Khalid Al-Anani, reopened the museum after three years of repairs and restoration.
A French tourist, who visited the museum, in March, had this to say on Trip Advisor, “The Museum of Islamic Arts does not draw the same large crowds as the Egyptian museum. It was very quiet when I visited. But this museum is a real jewel where I have learned a lot about the history of the various dynasties that ruled over the Islamic world. The objects on display are well selected and are all extremely beautiful. They teach not only about history, but culture and science in the Islamic world. I enjoyed the calm of this museum, but I think it is a real shame that so few westerners go and visit it.”
Keep yourself up to date with the museum’s latest news via its artistically designed website.