Egypt: Cairo: Other - Bayt al-Kritliyya (The House of the Cretan Woman)

Bayt al-Kritliyya


The House of the Cretan Woman


The House of the Cretan Woman, Bayt al-Kritliyya is an example of upper class medieval Cairene tastes. The house is located in the southeast corner of the Ibn Tulun Mosque in Sayeda Zainab and is now part of the Gayer Anderson House complex. The Gayer-Anderson House is actually made up of two 17th century houses stuck together. This complex is named after a British major who lived in it and restored it earlier in the 20th century. He filled the house with French, English and oriental furniture and other fixtures. The house has a large reception room with a balcony that overlooks it. The balcony is enclosed with a screen through which women of the harem could discreetly watch the male visitors below. The legends about this house are almost as intriguing as the house itself. Inhabitants of the house were said to have had the blessings of the patron saint al-Hussein who was the grandson of Muhammad. Another legend says that the well of the house gets magical and curative waters from the Great Flood. This well is said to have been the entrance to the palace of the King of the Jinn. Vast treasures are said to have been guarded by magic. Jinn is believed to be evil spirits.