Exploring Cairo: Banque Misr Museum narrates history of key Egyptian institution

Samar Nasr, Sunday 15 Oct 2017

Talaat Harb Museum
The main hall of the entance of Talaat Harb Museum (photos by: Mohamed Hassanin)

To face challenges and insist on success is not an easy task, but when it is accompanied with a strong will, you will be able to reach your goal.

This is how Mohamed Talaat Harb revitalised the Egyptian economy and established Banque Misr in 1920.

Harb was born on November 25 in 1867 in El-Gammaliya in Cairo.

He obtained a law degree and started his career as a translator at the Royal Circuits, which was in charge of state-owned agricultural areas.

He went on to publish books in 1907 and 1911 calling for the foundation of a national bank with Egyptian financers, as, at that time, all banks in Egypt were owned by foreigners.

The Banque Misr Museum in downtown Cairo was established in 2005, with the idea that it would narrate the history of the important economic institution, and the companies related to it.

a guiding panel for different companies belonging to Bank Misr (photos by: Mohamed Hassanin)

The museum is housed in what was the bank’s main branch, in a building of Italian design that dates from 1923.

The ground floor contained 60 customer service windows, while the second to fifth floors were dedicated to offices.

an overall view for Talaat Harb office (photos by: Mohamed Hassanin)

The ground floor in fact is still functioning as a bank branch, but another part of it is allocated to the museum and contains some of Talaat Harb’s personal possessions, such as a tea cup, a cigarette box, a game of dominos, a map of the Suez Canal, and his Nile Collar, which he received posthumously in 1980.

A typing machine from Talaat Harb belongings (photos by: Mohamed Hassanin)

Entering the rest of the museum, visitors are able to watch a short documentary about Harb’s life, and his efforts to revitalise the Egyptian economy.

There are more artefacts from the man’s life, including his office furniture, which has an Islamic design, his resignation letter to the bank, and some photographs of public figures like Saad Zaghloul, Gamal Abdel-Nasser, and King Fouad.

Nile Necklace was awarded to Talaat Harb on november 1980 (photos by: Mohamed Hassanin)

The bank is located in Mohamed Farid Street, close to Mohamed Naguib metro station.

The museum is open from 10am to 1:30 pm every day, except Friday and Saturday. Tickets are free for all visitors.

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