Museum of Islamic Ceramics/ Prince Amr Ibrahim's palace (Qasr Ali Ibrahim), Cairo

Museum of Islamic Ceramics/ Prince Amr Ibrahim's palace, Cairo

Zamalek is a district of Cairo encompassing an island on the Nile River. It is connected with the river banks through three bridges on each east and west side of the island. Under Khedive Ismail the Island was called "Jardin des Plantes" (garden of plants), because of its great collection of exotic plants shipped from all over the world. De la Chevalerie designed the island's landscaping and nurseries. Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria and Eugénie, Empress of the French were some of the noble guests of the palace. Other palaces were also built like Prince Sa'id Toussoun's palace, which is now a branch of the council of ministers and Prince Amr Ibrahim's palace, which is now the Ceramic Museum.

Prince Amr Ibrahim's palace in Zamalek has been converted into a museum, displaying 316 ceramic items from several Islamic countries and eras. Gems oriental ceramic crafts from 1200 years. The Museum of Islamic Ceramics in Zamalek occupies the ground and first floors in the palace of Prince Amr Ibrahim, which combines all prevailing styles of the Mohamed Ali Dynasty in its architectural and decorative style. These styles were influenced by the classical European style on the one hand and the Moroccan, Turkish, and Andalusian styles, in captivating harmony, on the other.

The acquisitions had been scattered in a number of other museums before they were collected in this new palace-turned-museum. Following the 1952 Revolution, the palace came under the control of municipal authorities. In 1971, the Ministry of Culture began using it as a gallery for the exhibition of Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil's collection of paintings after his house in Giza was annexed to the residence of the late President Anwar El-Sadat. The museum, which is surrounded by a 2,800 square metre garden, is the first of its kind in the Middle East.

The Palace is generally used as the Al-Gezira Art Center and the Museum houses a great collection of ceramics from the different Islamic periods. The most important of these is the collection of 74 pieces exhibited in the Fatimid Hall, with the exception of a single piece from the Abbasid period. Equally important are the halls containing the Turkish collection of 96 objects and the Egyptian collection of 39 Umayyad, Ayyubid, Mamluk, and Ottoman pieces.

This Islamic Pottery Museum decoration and furniture designs, including engraved wooden mashrabiyas, are purely Islamic. It is the first specialised Islamic ceramics museum was undoubtedly inspired by the palace's impressive Islamic architecture as well as its location in a quiet district in the heart of the city. The museum houses a rare collection of ceramics acquired from Islamic countries and representing various techniques of decoration used throughout the Islamic world, from Morocco in the west to Iran in the east.

The collection comprises 315 pieces, of which 116 are from Egypt representing popular styles from the different Islamic eras, Umayyad, Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk, 118 pieces in Turkish style ( Iznik and Kutahia ), 25 pieces in Syrian style (Al-Raqqa), 48 pieces in Iranian style, 2 pieces in Andalusian style, 2 pieces in Iraqi style and one piece in Moroccan style. The ceramics include vessels, jars, tiles, mugs, jugs, bowls, plates, pitchers, vases, lanterns, cups, the oldest dating back to second century Hijra and the most recent dating back to twelfth century Hijra. The pieces, carefully selected from the acquisitions of the Gezira Museum (150 pieces) Islamic Art Museum (159 pieces) and 6 pieces from the very palace that houses the Museum of Islamic Ceramics, are displayed on two floors in a total area of 420 square meters

The gallery contains the Syrian collection, while the Persian Collection Hall is situated on the upper floor. It contains Persian ceramics, as well as two recesses containing two Andalusian pieces, two Tunisian tiles, and two Iraqi bowls. The cellar includes four exhibiting halls, one of which displays 99 original paintings by renowned 19th century artists. In addition to the ceramics exhibition, the museum includes halls for communication networks, a cinema, an open air theatre for recitals and a video tape library.
Museum of Islamic Ceramics/ Prince Amr Ibrahim's palace (Qasr Ali Ibrahim)/ Islamic Pottery Museum, Zamalek , Cairo, Egypt
Museum of Islamic Ceramics/ Prince Amr Ibrahim's palace (Qasr Ali Ibrahim)/ Islamic Pottery Museum
Corner of Gezira St. & Shaykh Al-Marsafi St.(Next to the Marriot Hotel), 16 Gezira St, Zamalek (Gazirah) Island, Zamalek , Cairo, Egypt
Public Transport: It can be found on the north side of Midan Ahmed Maher in Central Cairo, with its main entrance at the side on Port Said Street (Sharia Burr Said). bus nr 12 from Giza square
Tel. 987495, 390 9930.
Hour: 9.30-13.30 daily, and 17:30-22 o'clock clock, free admission

Last Updated on Monday 17th January 2011