Museum of Islamic Art
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Museum of Islamic Art information
Recently renovated, this museum on the edge of the medieval city holds one of the world’s finest collections of Islamic applied art. In the interest of not overwhelming the visitor, what’s on display is only a sliver of the 80,000 objects the museum owns, and unfortunately, English signage is somewhat limited. Still, the selected items are stunning, and the best works speak for themselves, so you can easily spend a couple of hours here.
To the right as you enter are architectural details – frescoes, carved plaster so fine it looks like lace, an intricate inlaid-wood ceiling – and ceramics grouped by dynasty. A surprising amount of figurative work is on view, and not all of it strictly Islamic – a shard of an Ayyubid bowl shows Mary holding a crucified Christ. To the left, pieces are grouped by function and medium: medical tools, astrolabes, some breathtaking carpets, illuminated Qurans, even headstones.
The museum is 500m due west from Bab Zuweila. Coming from Midan Ataba, the museum is 700m southeast, straight down Sharia al-Qala’a; the entrance is on the back side of the building, around the corner. Midan Tahrir is 1.6km west along Sharia Sami al-Barudi (passing the Mohammed Naguib metro station en route).