The Gayer Anderson Museum and the Mosque of Ahmad ibn Tulun

Gayer-Anderson Museum, As Sayedah، El Sayeda Zeinab, Egypt

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The Gayer Anderson Museum and the Mosque of Ahmad ibn Tulun are located adjacent to one another in the Sayyida Zeinab neighborhood of Cairo. The Gayer Anderson Museum takes its name from Major R.G. Gayer Anderson Pasha (who lived in the house from 1935-1942), and is known as one of the best-preserved examples of 17th century domestic architecture left in Cairo. The compound comprises of two houses that date back to the Ottoman period. The museum also has a large collection of furniture, carpets, artifacts and other objects.

Gayer Anderson was a doctor in the English military who was deployed to Egypt in 1907. In 1935, he made a request to the Assembly of Preserving Arab Antiquities to live in the two houses and decorate them in Islamic-Arabic style. He gathered a vast collection of pharaonic, Islamic and Asiatic antiquities, which would belong to the Egyptian people either following Gayer Anderson’s death or when he decided to leave Egypt permanently. The Assembly agreed, and in 1942, the two houses were left to the Assembly and later converted into the museum that stands today.

The Mosque of Ahmad ibn Tulun is less touristed than Sultan Hassan or the mosque of Muhammad Ali, but it is one of the oldest and best-preserved mosques in Egypt, having survived in its full original form for centuries. It is also the largest mosque in Cairo in terms of land area. It was commissioned by Ahmad ibn Tulun (323–358 AH/935–969 AD), the Abbasid governor of Egypt.

Written by Kathryn Nathanson

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