The Police Museum at the Citadel
by Seif Kamel
The last time I was in the Citadel to visit the military museum I noticed the Police Museum, which seemed interesting, so I decided I would have to make a return trip to visit it as well.
I was beginning to get used to the long stretch leading up to the entrance of the Citadel. Today, there was not as much security as on several other visits. I only had to pass through the metal detector gate and then I was inside the Citadel. As usual, there were many school groups visiting the Citadel. It is considered one of the most popular school trips. And as usual, there were many tourists. The Citadel is large, but I have now gotten to know my way around, and I knew exactly where to find the Police Museum.
The Police Museum is a huge building with small windows that were once probably used by archers. There is an Egyptian flag atop the gate, and the gate itself is ancient, decorated with simple old Islamic arabesque.
Once I entered the gate I found some Arabesque style chairs and a sofa to the right. Afterwards, I found some wooden and brass souvenirs. At first I thought it was just another gift shop. However, when I saw some people building a stage, I realized that they were organizing the place for musical concerts that sometimes take place in the Citadel, and these souvenirs are for the people who will attend the concert
To the right, I found another sign pointing to the Police National Museum. Next to the stairs of the museum, there was a huge statue of a lion. I think it's not ancient. It looked like it was made by a famous Egyptian sculpture such as Mahmoud Mokhtar as a gift to the museum.
Once inside the museum, the first corridor contains portraits of Egyptian ministers throughout history. It is not very interesting, other than for observing the changes in their clothing throughout time. After that, the first hall of the museum consists of weapons used by the Egyptian police throughout time, including the Pharaonic Period. In fact, there were many ancient shields and weapons in the hall, along with modern guns, mostly of British origin due to the British occupation of Egypt. There are also some shields and helmets from the Islamic Period, including one helmet dating to the Islamic year 11. It has Arabic sentences from the Qura'n meant to protect the soldier who wore it.
The next hall is the Ismailia battle hall. It contains displays related to the battle of the Egyptian police against the British occupiers in 1951. This was one of the main triggers of the Egyptian revolution in 1952. This hall contains some real pictures of the battle and some weapons the Egyptians and the British used. In the middle of this small hall there is a small scale model of the police station in Ismailia and of the battle that took place.
The crimes hall is the most interesting in this museum. At various points in time, money forgery has been a problem in Egypt, and there are displays of printing machines and of counterfeit bills that look very real. Some criminals even produced fake coins, which was a difficult task, as well as other currencies including American.
Then there are displays of the famous Egyptian criminals through time. One is of Mahmuod Amin Mahmoud, who was born in 1929. He lived in many different places like Maadi and Darb Ahmar and he committed more than 30 crimes of theft and murder. He eluded the police for many years, but died in 1960 in a battle with them. There are a number of displays, including a few real pictures of this scary individual.
However, to the left of Mahmuod Amin there is a display of the most famous criminals in modern Egyptian history. They are Rayya and Sekina, two sisters who organized a prostitution ring at the beginning of the last century. That wasnt their main crime though. They would kill women and steal their jewelry and money and then would bury them in an apartment the sisters owned next to the police station in Alexandria. One of their ploys was to approach women in the market and convince them to come back to their apartment to look at clothes they had for sales. Once the victim entered the apartment, they would kill her, rob her of whatever she had, and bury her in the same apartment. It was very hard for the police of Alexandria to capture them but they eventually did.
The remainder of the displays in this small museum are mainly historic items that the police confiscated from those trying to smuggle the artifacts out of the country. Most of these are small statues that date back to the Greek Period in Egypt.
To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the Police Museum, but I suppose it was worth a quick visit. Egypt is really working to upgrade their museums, and many of the newer ones, such as the Luxor Museum, are very nice and employ modern museum sciences. This one is not one of those at this point. Of course, we do try to inform tourists of what might, and might not be very interesting.
Last Updated: June 9th, 2011