Ahmed Orabi's house to become a museum after restoration

Nevine El-Aref , Wednesday 4 Sep 2013

Following years of neglect, the house of Egyptian nationalist leader Ahmed Orabi is to be restored and turned into a museum

entrance of the house

The house of legendary Egyptian nationalist leader Colonel Ahmed Orabi is to be renovated and turned into a museum, the Ministry of State for Antiquities has announced.

Orabi was a colonel in the Egyptian army in the 1880s. Orabi and the army revolted against Khedive Tawfiq in 1879 over the increasing European domination of Egypt. The revolt failed and in 1882 Tawfiq asked the United Kingdom to confront Orabi and his collaborators. The 40-year-long British occupation of Egypt began from that point.

The house, in Hreyya Razna in the Nile Delta city of Zagazig, is a typical two-floor rural house built of mud brick. It includes a central courtyard surrounded with three guest rooms. It has a long corridor, a bedroom, a bathroom and a rural kitchen with a large mud brick oven.

The walls are plain except for some decorated with frames displaying important historical and political documents from the tenure of then defence minister Mahmoud Sami El-Baroudi.

Time has taken its toll on the house. Its wooden doors and walls are cracked, and some parts of the ceiling have collapsed and been replaced with wooden bars. The area behind the house is being used as a rubbish dump.

Mostafa Amin, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), told Ahram Online that restoring Orabi's house was a step taken within the MSA's framework to restore important historical sites and turn them into tourism destinations.

The restoration work will fix all cracks and consolidate the walls and ceiling, he added. Wooden doors, windows and decorative items will be restored, and damaged parts will be replaced.

After restoration, Amin went on, the house will display historical documents, as well as some of Orabi's personal belongings, such as his gun, military uniform and fez. 

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