In That area, there are a lot of interesting places. One of these is Bayt el Suhaymi. Bayt means "house" in Arabic, so this is a historic, restored house.
The oldest section was built by Abdel Wahab el Tablawy in 1648 A.D. The house was purchased in 1796 by Sheikh Ahmed as-Suhaymi, who extended it by integrating several of the adjacent houses. Nowadays Bayt el Suhaymi, especially after its restoration process, is the best example of a rich private house dating to seventeenth century Egypt. The house also demonstrates a lot about the art of the period and how people used to live in the Ottoman period.
|Mashrabeya windows, can be seen from outside the house|
Salamlek : It was used by El Suhaymi to welcome his male guests.
The next hall is the summer salamlek guest room. It was built at the end of the corridor and overlooks the street in order to benefit from the cool air during the summer. Most of the spaces within the house are not designed around functionality, as houses are today, but around climatic considerations. This hall has one of the most remarkable mashrabeya screens in the house, overlooking the street.It is a very big screen with three different decorative shapes and stained glass at the very top of the screen. People would sit on the pillows on the floor and chat in the summer. There are also the wooden brown cupboards all around just like the first guest room.
|The maq'ad of the house|
Next, I entered is the maq'ad of the house, which is a rectangular or square room where the owner of the house would sit with his family, sons and daughters, and very close friends. This more private space, a part of the haremlek, is like any other section of the house, full of brown cupboards and another amazing mashrabeya screen, with tables in the middle and sofas all around. The Suhaymi House is famous for it's many halls, especially the haremlek.
Afterwards, there is another hall of the haremlek area with more unique mashrabeya screens. The pieces of wood in these screens are designed to be very close to each other, making it impossible for anyone from outside to see through it while enabling the women of the house to look at the street and the sahn. This room was used for women to welcome their guests and friends. Most of the room is decorated with brown and dark red colors, which seemed very feminine and suited the women's section. This area is restricted to women and young children. When a male child got older, it was preferred that he would not enter the room. This hall contained some objects that the women used, such as alabaster dishes and plates. There are two high, stained glass windows that are very attractive.
The next room I entered is another haremlek section where the women would rest. It is a smaller hall with less light. The whole atmosphere in this room is relaxing. The room has many pillows on the floor for women to rest on and many cupboards to hold their necessities.
This room, in particular, was strictly for women. No men, other than sons and the father, were allowed inside.
The bathroom section: is the most interesting place in the house. It is divided into three sections.
|The hot water section|
|The blue hall|
The ceiling is designed in a Persian style, which makes it look as though there are steps above one's head. It is similar to the sleeping room in the Gayer Anderson house. There are many old lanterns in the room, hanging from the high ceiling. One of them is very unique, looking like a tower of lights.
|The small room|
The third floor is in ill repair and nobody is allowed there. It is empty and doesn't have any decorations or furniture.
Now it was time to visit the garden of the house, which is next to the sahn.
The rooms around the garden were mainly used by servants for sleeping and for cooking meals for the family. In the garden, there is a very attractive summer dome that was used for shade. It has the same ceiling I fell in love with in the bathrooms. There is also the old waterwheel of the house known as a "Sakia". A donkey would have been tied to this waterwheel to enable the circulation of the water. Beside it, there is the place where they once milled crops to make food, known as a "Mathana". This mathana looked usable and the guide informed me that indeed it is.
There are very old trees spread all around the garden. Some of these trees are as old as the house itself. They give the garden a unique appearance.
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