Photography taken by Ahmed Salah & Manal Abdel Rehim
John Gayer-Anderson was a British doctor who worked in the British army. Upon his retirement, Gayer-Anderson was given permission to reside in what was then known as Bayt al-Kiritliya, (house of the Cretan lady) in 1935, on the condition that he bestow his valuable art collection to the Egyptian nation upon his death. Now known as the Gayer Anderson Museum, the house is comprised of two main houses, one built in 1630 AD and the other built in 1540 AD that were joined together to make one large house. Restored by the Egyptian Government in the 1930s before Gayer-Anderson’s occupancy, the house now serves as a museum.
The museum is located adjacent to the Ibn Tulun mosque in Old Cairo, in fact if you ascend to the roof of the museum, you see over the mosque walls.
Gayer-Anderson was a collector of antiques, – Turkish, Iranian, Chinese, Ancient Egyptian and Romanian – among others. Each room in the house has its own style that adheres to a particular culture. The Damascus Room is perfectly styled to mimic a bedroom in an ancient Damascus home. The Chinese Room is the smallest room in the house bearing Chinese furnishings, antiques, and wall-hangings. The English Room is the Library, with a stunningly adorned ceiling.
Gayer-Anderson’s remarkable paintings collection can be viewed throughut the house. Including his own self-portraits, sketches, and old photographs. Also strewn throughout are Roman and ancient Egyptian statues and artifacts.
Another important feature of the museum is its’ rooftop terrace. Overlooking the Ibn Tulun Mosque, the rooftop is enclosed by beautifully carved mashrabeyya. The Gayer-Anderson Museum also houses an old Sabeel, which offered fresh water to the public, it is located on the ground floor; a feature rarely found among historical houses in Egypt.
Best Time to go
Middle of the week is the quietest time to enjoy the visit, especially in the morning.
Visiting the Gayer-Anderson Museum is highly recommended for history and Islamic architecture fans.
How to get there
By taxi. Ask for Masjid Ahmed Ibn Tulun. The museum is attached to the south-east corner of the mosque.