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If indefinite articles are the proverbial thorn in your side, the good news is that you don't need a

If indefinite articles are the proverbial thorn in your side, the good news is that you don't need a lot of grammatical jargon to understand their usage. You simply need your ears (okay, and maybe just a little grammatical jargon). In English, a and

zeinab khatun house

Ancient buildings

11 January, 2022
18 January, 2022

Archaeological Houses


-Al Sennari House


Sennari House "Beit El Sennari" is not well known by many tourists who visit Egypt. Situated on a small lane named Haret Monge, just off of a downtown street called Khairat, there are very few tourism attractions nearby. Ibrahim Katkhuda El-Sennari built Sennari House in 1794. In 1798, Napoleon invaded Egypt bringing with him an army of scientists, scholars and artists to establish a French culture base in Egypt.

Soon, they began their mission of making the first European study of Egypt that they published as Le description de l'Egypte.

Sennari House "Beit El Sennari" was used to house many of the French artists and scholars at the time. It became the center of the French study of Egypt, and therefore a very important monument to early Egyptology.

This was exactly what I did. After leaving the metro I had to walk for about 15 minutes before reaching the house.


Upon making my way through this door, I found myself in an old garden that I found out later was the main garden of the house. Here, I found many old palm trees, along with some construction work, as the museum is still under restoration.


Typically, the house surrounds this open courtyard, and it was used, particularly in the mornings, as a reception place. The sahn of El Sennari House is very beautiful. There is a very old fountain.


The sahn is an excellent place to see most of the mashrabeya screens of the house, as they are built to overlook the courtyard. There are many mashrabeya screens all around the house and in a very good state. They are of the finest variety, made of very small pieces of wood in tight patterns, and many have additional arabesque carvings within the wood. To the left on the second floor, one's eyes are drawn to a very attractive balcony with woodwork all around it. As both a historical house, and the center of work surrounding the scholars in the Napoleon expedition, it deserves, and will probably someday receive, more attention.

But probably only then will it find an audience of tourists. Nevertheless, even today, it does have its charm, but only those very interested in such places will appreciate its appeal.


-Bayt el-Kredlea - Gayer-Anderson Museum


The Gayer-Anderson Museum “Bayt el-Kredlea” is an art museum located in Cairo, Egypt.

It is situated adjacent to the Mosque of Ahmad Ibn Toulon in the Sayyida Zeinab neighborhood. The building takes its name from Major R.G. Gayer-Anderson Pasha, who resided in the house between 1935 and 1942 with special permission from the Egyptian Government.

The museum is noted for being one of the best-preserved examples of 17th-century domestic architecture left in Cairo, and also for its vast collection of furniture, carpets, curio, and other objects.


The museum consists of two houses built using the outer wall of the Mosque of Ibn Toulon as support. The larger house, located to the east (the outermost side in relation to the mosque) was built in 1632 (1041 AH) by Hajj Mohammad Ibn al-Hajj Salem Ibn Galman al-Gazzar. It later came into the possession of a wealthy Muslim woman from Crete, and the home became popularly known as Beit al-Kritliyya, or "House of the Cretan Woman." The second house, to the west (the innermost side in relation to the mosque) was built in 1540 (947 AH) by Abdel-Qader al-Haddad. It later became known as "Beit Amna bint Salim," after its last owner. A bridge at the third floor level at an unknown point joined the two houses, and are both collectively known as Bayt al-Kritliyya.


The construction of private homes against the outer wall of a mosque was common practice, with access to both the homes and mosque via narrow streets. It was reported that in the early 20th century, the mosque of Ibn Toulon could not be seen from the outside due to the houses.

 In 1928 the Egyptian government began to clear the homes, many of which were in very poor condition, away from the mosque as part of a plan to make important Islamic monuments more accessible.

The Committee for the Conservation of Arab Monuments objected to the demolition of Beit al-Kritliyya, however, because the home was extraordinarily well preserved.

The home was kept intact, and repairs were made to the sidewalls to strengthen them after the neighbouring houses were torn down.

 -El Set Wasilla House

Located in El-Azhar district, Established in 1664, El Set Wasilla house is named after the slave of a late owner of the house. The house is now known as the House of Poetry. Poetry readings are frequently held in the grand hall, while meeting rooms and administration offices have been set up on the second floor. It is divided to two parts including the reception and the internal rooms.

The house was successfully restored to its original condition showing the different architectural art that distinguish the monument.


A stone staircase leads to a loggia intimately overlooking the small private courtyard below. Much of the second floor is blocked off for office use or for other uses serving the poetry house, but the main elements of the house have been respectfully left unchanged.

The Ottoman-style hammam is intact with a dome ceiling spotted with coloured glass, and traditional mashrabeya screens are seen throughout the house.


The main attraction of the house is the large hall on the ground floor. What was used for receiving guests to this once private residence is now used as a space for poetry readings.

A stage at the far end of the wall and several rows of chairs fill much of the space in front of it.

Separating the two is an old well that was discovered during a renovation of the house. The well predates the structure and is considered by some to be the oldest known well in Egypt.


A small seating area of couches and coffee tables sits on either side of the hall.  All of the furniture currently in El Set Wasilla house was made especially for the house where a few funky lamps and deep cushioned couches provide a place for relaxation and conversation.


-Zainab Khatun House

The house is located near al-Azhar mosque on Muhammad Abdu Street. The house of Zaynab Khatun was built in 1486.

The ground floor is all built with clean cut stones while for the upper floors and later additions, brick; The Mandara (sitting room) for the master of the house to receive his guests. The Harem Qa’a on the first floor, it is composed of the usual three sections, the “Durqa’a” with two unequal “iwan’s” from each side at a higher level. In the middle, there is a mosaic inlaid octagonal fountain.


At the moment it is been reused as a Cultural Center where different cultural events


-Bayt Al-Suhaymi

Bayt Al-Suhaymi "House of Suhaymi" is an old Ottoman era house museum in Cairo, Egypt. Abdel Wahab el Tablawy originally built it in 1648 along the Darb al-Asfar, a very prestigious and expensive part of Medieval Cairo.


 In 1796 it was purchased by Sheikh Ahmed as-Suhaymi whose family held it for several subsequent generations. The Sheikh greatly extended the house from its original through incorporating neighbouring houses into its structure.

The house is built around a sahn in the centre of which there is a small garden with plants and palm trees.

 From here, several of the fine mashrabiya windows in the house can be seen. Today the house is a museum. Much of the marble floor work, wooden furniture, and ceiling decor are still intact.


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