• Wendy Bradfield

The Gayer-Anderson Museum and Ibn Tulun Mosque Are Cairo’s Most Peaceful Day Trip


Islamic architecture
Ibn Tulun Mosque, Cairo, Egypt

The Gayer-Anderson Museum and Ibn Tulun Mosque are Cairo's most peaceful day trips. The best part is they are right beside each other!

Ibn Tulun Mosque

Ibn Tulun is one of the oldest mosques in Egypt and all of Africa. It's the largest mosque in Cairo and constructed around a massive square courtyard which allows for a natural light source. Ibn Tulun evokes a profoundly peaceful feeling with its starkly beautiful wide-open landscape.


Ibn Tulun Mosque features ancient architectural styles of Egypt, with carved stucco and wood. Surprisingly, it was used as a belt factory in the 18th century!

Ibn Tulun was declared a historic monument in 1890, and the mosque has been completely restored since then.


Don't forget to climb the minaret for one of the most stunning views of old Cairo!

Logistics

  • Ibn Tulun Mosque is free to enter

  • You must wear shoe covers (they provide 5-10 LE) or remove your shoes.

  • Ladies may need to cover their hair, so bring a headscarf, and it's recommended to cover your arms and legs.

  • Visting hours - 8 am - 4 pm. They close during prayer time, so be aware when you plan your visit!

  • Getting there - Ibn Tulun Mosque and Gayer-Anderson Museum are right next to each other in El Sayeda Zeinab, old Cairo. Tell your driver "Mez-gid Ibn Tulun," mez-gid means mosque.

The Gayer-Anderson Museum

The Gayer-Anderson is a two-building 16th-17th century residence turned museum with an eclectic mix of Pharaonic, Islamic, and Asiatic antiquities.


Rooftop View Gayer-Anderson Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Gayer-Anderson Museum, Cairo, Egypt

But here is where its history gets interesting.


The James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me was partially shot in the museum's ceremonial reception hall and the rooftop terrace!


And there's more!


The house was built over an ancient mountain called Gebel Yashkur, the "Hill of Thanksgiving." Many say that this is where Noah's Ark landed after the floods described in both the Bible and Qur'an.

Additionally, they say the last of the floodwater drained through the well in the house's courtyard!


The former owner, who it was named after, Major Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson, was a British national deployed in Egypt as a surgeon. He became obsessed with Egyptian culture and adopted the local language and customs. Soon he began collecting & restoring ancient Egyptian artifacts.


Gayer-Anderson fell in love with the Ottoman-style buildings, and in 1935, he was granted permission to live in the buildings, oversee the restorations and decorate them with his collection of art and furnishings.


The Gayer-Anderson cat is the most famous object of Robert Gayer-Anderson's collection of oriental art. He kept a replica for his museum in Cairo but donated the original to the British Museum.


The Gayer Anderson cat, ancient Egypt
The Gayer-Anderson Cat

Each room is stunning in its own right and lavishly decorated. The view from the rooftop overlooking Ibn Tulun Mosque and old Cairo is unforgettable. Wandering through the maze of these two houses feels like you're on a secret archaeology excavation!


In 1942, Gayer-Anderson left Egypt due to poor health, and he gave the contents of the house to the Egyptian government, and King Farouk gave him the title of Pasha in return.


The Gayer-Anderson Museum is a fascinating museum and well worth a visit.

Ibn Tulun Mosque is right next door, so it's a perfect day trip for both!

Logistics

  • Visiting hours are 7 days a week, 9 am - 4 pm except Fridays 1-4.

  • Tickets for Foreigner Adult/Student 60 LE/ 30 LE, Egyptian Adult/Student 10 LE/ 5 LE

  • The ticket includes a personal guide (be sure to tip)

  • Getting there - Ibn Tulun Mosque and Gayer-Anderson Museum are right next to each other in El Sayeda Zeinab, old Cairo. Tell your driver "Mez-gid Ibn Tulun," mez-gid means mosque.

Enjoy one of Cairo's most peaceful day trips! Happy travels!


I need coffee strong enough to wake up my ancestors! You can buy me one here if you enjoy my scribblings! Many thanks, xoxo


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