Gayer-Anderson Museum


in Cairo

Through a gateway to the south of the main entrance of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, this quirky museum gets its current name from John Gayer-Anderson, the British major and army doctor who restored the two adjoining 16th-century houses between 1935 and 1942, filling them with lovely antiquities, artworks and knick-knacks acquired on his travels in the region. The house was used as a location in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.

On his death in 1945, Gayer-Anderson bequeathed the lot to Egypt. The puzzle of rooms is decorated in a variety of styles: the Persian Room has exquisite tiling, the Damascus Room has lacquer and gold, and the Queen Anne Room displays ornate furniture and a silver tea set. The enchanting mashrabiyya gallery looks down onto a magnificent qa’a (reception hall), which has a marble fountain, decorated ceiling beams and carpet-covered alcoves. The rooftop terrace has been lovingly restored, with more complex mashrabiyya.

From here, it’s rewarding to keep walking another 750m west to the popular quarter of Sayyida Zeinab, where there’s a metro station.