The Islamic Museum in Cairo, also known as the Museum of Islamic Art, is located in the historic district of Bab al-Khalq. It is considered one of the most important museums of Islamic art in the world and displays a vast collection of Islamic artifacts from different periods and regions.
The museum was established in 1881 and originally housed in the Al-Hakim Mosque in the Fatimid era. Its collections were mainly composed of objects from the National Antiquities Museum in Cairo. However, over time, the collection was expanded and a dedicated building was constructed to house the museum’s growing collection.
The current building of the Islamic Museum in Cairo was constructed in 1903 during the reign of Khedive Abbas Helmi II. The architecture of the museum reflects a combination of Islamic and European styles. It was designed by the French architect Marcel Dourgnon and features a central courtyard surrounded by exhibition rooms.
The museum’s collection consists of over 100,000 objects spanning various Islamic dynasties and regions. It includes textiles, ceramics, metalwork, calligraphy, manuscripts, woodwork, and more. The artifacts range from early Islamic art to different periods, such as the Fatimid, Ayyubid, Mamluk, and Ottoman eras.
One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of Islamic carpets, which is considered one of the finest in the world. It includes rare and exquisite carpets from different regions, showcasing the diverse and intricate designs of Islamic carpet weaving.
Throughout its history, the Islamic Museum in Cairo has faced numerous challenges, including thefts and damage during political unrest. In 2014, a car bomb attack targeted the neighboring Cairo Security Directorate, causing severe damage to the museum. However, extensive restoration and renovation efforts were undertaken to restore the museum’s facilities and collection.
Today, the Islamic Museum in Cairo continues to serve as a significant institution for preserving and showcasing the rich heritage of Islamic art. It attracts thousands of visitors each year who come to appreciate and learn about the artistic and cultural contributions of the Islamic world.