Museum of Islamic Art | Cairo
The first collection of Islamic antiquities was formed around 1880 and housed in the SE riwaq of the Mosque of al-Hakim. Later a small museum was built in the courtyard and called the Museum of Arab Art. In 1903 the present building was erected to house the collection and that of the Khedival Library.
The collection here is a reflection of Cairo’s past wealth—displaying a varied collection of artifacts from across the Muslim world that ended up in Cairo due to its influence in various ages of Islamic history. Although it has never been on the traditional Cairo tourist path, in part due to the fact that it only recently opening after a ten year renovation.
The museum displays a wealth of artifacts that display the full range Islamic arts—from architectural forms and ornamentation from the monuments and mosques of Cairo to decorated manuscripts from Persia and beautifully crafted home wares and carpets from Turkey and the Maghrab.
It is worth a visit to appreciate the beauty of the artistic styles and forms that Islamic culture produced while working around the Koranic injunction against representations of the Allah or the Prophet Muhammed—developing instead ornate skill in creating foral and geometric forms.