Scotsabroad's Weblog

June 6, 2009

Societe de Geographie d’Egypte

Filed under: Cairo — scotsabroad @ 6:03 pm

library

A wonderful ethnology museum and home of the Geographical Society is hidden in the parliament grounds just off Qasr al-Aini Street. Being a born again geographer, Shona had read about the Geographical Society and wanted to check it out with the intention of perhaps taking a school group  on an educational visit. Lesley Lababidi says, “if you have been to this museum, then you know you are not a tourist!’

street

I don’t really know what we are. This was just a magical find. We never seem to meet other families, foreign or local, exploring these treasures. We handed over our passports at an uninviting gate to the Egyptian Parliament grounds and entered an old building labelled with the French above. Not many tourists get here. We are alone once again. No tickets – but a helpful escort to switch on the lights in the various rooms which make up the Ethnology Museum. Slipped him some LE after the first few rooms so we were left to explore on our own.   

museum 1Office DoorMuseum 2

A quirky collection of things belonging to certain eras and cultures. Old keys, a birthing chair, an elephant’s foot, shadow puppets, drums, weapons, costumes and carved dessert spoons. The boys once again desperate to show us things  that they have discovered in each of the rooms. The Suez Canal room captured the magnitude of the engineering feat and the opulence surrounding the opening. Great dioramas,  unfortunately not at a six year old’s height.

Suez

It just got better. We climbed a most magnificent staircase up to the lecture hall of the Geographical Society. We did not expect such an amazing room. Built in the 1920s the lecture hall was breathtaking. An ornate ceiling and beautiful stained glass windows produced a wonderful atmosphere. Rooms led off from the hall through enormous doors, some rooms with open fireplaces, all lined with bookshelves. Students were seated at large reading desks researching through the books on display. Magical place that is stuck in that all now familiar time-warp.

lecture halllecture hall glasslecture hall 2

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