House of El Seheimy
Bayt El Seheimy or El Seheimy is one of the prominent houses in Cairo that dates back to the 18th century and is regarded as a perfect example for the style of decoration and designing at that time. It locates in El Darb El Asfar nearby the House of Mustafa Gaafar and the House of El Khurazati, places dating back to the same period. The façade of El Seheimy house is beautified with attractive mashrabeya windows imparting on the street and some other simple decorations that reflect the spirit of the 16th and 17th century. The interior plan of this house includes some parts that were dedicated only to women known as Haramlik and others for men known as Salamlik. The main portal of the house is followed by a vast open courtyard with a fountain in its center. This courtyard was annexed with an area with nice seats where men were gathering for negotiating work affairs and if there is no stranger, women were allowed to join the men. The second floor of the house was enclosing a loggia or central hall with huge windows and a nice open dome for ventilation and illumination and designed in a way that reflect the impact of the Mamluk style on the Ottoman one. Worth admiration in this part is the hall is the beautiful polychrome inlays and marble patterns that were usually used for decorating houses and mosques alike in this period. In addition to that the courtyard with its high ceiling was ornamented with attractive brass works that highlight the magnificent style of decoration of the medieval Islamic period. The Haramlek of El Seheimy house, like most of the houses of the wealthy people, was annexed to bath area since middle class members were usually using the public bathes. Of special note in this part of the house are the luxuriously decorated ceiling, windows of stained glass and lattice wooden works ornamenting the corners of the Haramlik. In addition to the Haramlik and the central courtyard, there are some richly decorated private rooms for women and a Malqaj that was used for allowing fresh air to enter the house. Within the garden enclosure of the house, one can find a well, store rooms and a flour mill that were usually attached to the houses of the wealthy people. Worth mentioning thing is that El Seheimy House is used as a museum and a center for cultural meetings nowadays.