Visiting of the museum is organized by: Deena Younis
for our Russian group. Highly qualified and professional information that we have
received from Deena Younis, together with her deep and sincere love to her
Country, allowed us to feel and understand the history of Egypt
much more closer and deeper.
The Anglo-Egyptian War was over. It was 25th year since the beginning of the occupation of Egypt by the forces of British Crown, when doctor Gayer-Anderson, after joining the Army Medical Corps was sent to Egypt. After he was promoted to the rank of Major in 1914, he became the Assistant Adjutant General, and 6 years later in 1920 he left the military service and became the Oriental Secretary of the British Residency in Cairo.
In 1935, the Egyptian government allowed Gayer-Anderson to reside in one of the old Arab houses, named Bayt al-Kritliyya, which was under the care of the Arab Monuments Committee. There, in a medieval building, located at the entrance to the famous mosque of Ibn Tulun, built back in the IX century BC, the British explorer Gayer-Anderson has arranged his famous collection of oriental artifacts of different periods of Egyptian and Middle East history.
The British researcher has bequeathed the contents of Bayt al-Kritliyya to the Egyptian Government, and when in the spring of 1942 he was forced to leave the country because of his bad health, the Egyptian Ministry of Public Instructions has turned the house into Museum.
Gayer-Anderson Pasha died in England in 1945 and was buried in the village of Lavenham Suffolk County.
The house-museum itself is one of the most beautiful buildings of XVI - XVII century Arab architecture in Cairo.
It consists of two different buildings, connected by a walkway. The eastern part was built in 1632 by a rich man Hajj Mohammad Ibn al-Hajj Salem Ibn Galman al-Gazzar ('the Butcher'). Later, the house came into the possession of some Muslim lady, who arrived in Cairo from the island of Crete, and was called in arabic as "al-Kritliyya'" in honor of the island, from which she came. The western part of the house was built almost a century earlier - in 1540 by the blacksmith Abdel-Qader al-Haddad. Later, the building began to carry a name of Amna bint Salim after its last owner.
At some point in history, the two houses were connected by a bridge, and after they were united in one structure, they begun to bear a common name of Bayt al-Kritliyya.
In old times, houses in Cairo, usually were built close to the walls of the large Mosques. This happened to the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, which for many years was hidden from the eyes of the people by the great number of private buildings, surrounding it.
In 1928, the Government of Egypt decided to demolish all the buildings around the Mosque, including Bayt al-Kritliyya. But the Committee for the for the Conservation of Arab Monuments insisted on the integrity of this historic building. Bayt al-Kritliyya was saved and the necessary restoration work were carried out.
The house is built on a hill, called Gebel Yashkur, which mean "The Hill of Thanksgiving". According to the ancient legents, it was believed, that on this very hill the Ark of Noah found it's "pier" after the Great Flood, and that the last remnant of the floodwater was drained through a well, which much later was included within the courtyard of the Bayt al-Kritliyya.
Various things, household items of different eras, old books, copper, stone, wooden things and other different artefacts - that is the incomplete list of the priceless collection, many items of which now can be found in the museums all over the World, being presented by Gayer-Anderson as the gifts.
The door, located on the south side of the courtyard leads to the room, which contains artifacts that tell us about the architecture and history of the building of house.
The Quran. Surah 6. Al-An'am, Ayah 59
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