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Beit Al-Umma: house that remains immortal to tell a tale of a great leader - Daily News Egypt

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Beit Al-Umma: house that remains immortal to tell a tale of a great leader

The house still contains all the collectibles of its owners, which remained in the same place as the owners left it when they died.

In one of Al-Mounira’s streets there is one house that stands firmly, carrying the greatness, glory, ambitions and dreams of Egyptians, it is the house of Saad Zaghloul or as it was called “Beit Al-Umma” (The House of the Nation).

The house still contains all the collectibles of its owners, which remained in the same place as the owners left it when they died. Once a visitor enters the house, he will feel as if the owners are still there with him and their souls are floating around him to tell him about their stories and secrets.

The house itself witnessed many difficult events, as the owner of the house was a revolutionary man who was proud of his country and defended it, and even after he died, his wife carried that cause after him. The house was never closed, and it remains a place that brings together all Egyptians from all communities.

Zagloul is one of the most famous leaders of the national and political movement in Egypt during the British occupation. He was also the founder of the Al-Wafd Party, the first prime-minister of Egypt after the constitution of 1923.

His wife Safia Zagloul, she was of a Turkish descent and the daughter of Mustafa Pasha Fahmi, who himself headed Egypt’s Cabinet five times. She played her own role in mobilising women in support of the nationalist cause and, even after his death, was a force to be reckoned with.

Zaghloul’s property, built in 1902, in the Al-Mounira district in central Cairo, not far from parliament’s buildings. The building was designed in the style of palaces of the Franco-élite, with grand architectural features similar to Europe more than Egypt, and with furniture imported from France, Austria, and Germany.

The house is surrounded by a large garden, which gives it more pride, decorated with palm trees and lamps, and also surrounded by high walls and a large iron gate to secure it.

Once visitors cross the huge gate, they will witness a statue of Zaghloul, sculpted by the famous Egyptian artist Mahmoud Mokhtar amd surrounded by trees on each side.

The house consists of three floors and 14 rooms, containing 750 pieces of house holdings.

The first floor consists of four rooms. The first room is the small living room that used to receive Zaghloul’s guests in the winter.

Meanwhile, the second one is the dining room, which is surrounded by a large table, where he used to sit at the head of the table and his wife used to sit on his right. After he died, his chair remained empty and no one was allowed to sit on it. Lunch time was at 1:30 pm.

As for the rest, comes a big living room , where Zaghloul met members of Al-Wafd Party, it is also the place where Safia received Umm Kulthum—who was an internationally renowned Egyptian singer, songwriter, and film actress active from the 1920s till the 1970s—when she came to offer her condolences after his passing. In the walls of the room there is a wall carpet with a picture of Saad Pasha and a watch, presented to his family on the 40th anniversary of his death, there is also the hand fan that belongs to Safia.

The last room in the first floor is the office room, which contains a wardrobe with a luxurious set of writing tools and an American ink pen given to him by his wife, but Zaghloul never used it.

As the visitors ascend to the second floor, they will find two entrances, in front of each one of them there is a metal crate, which includes a couple of parrots that according to the tour guide were calling after Zaghloul’s name, those parrots were mummified after their death.

The first entrance leads to Safia’s dressing room, which includes her clothes, shoes, perfume bottles, accessories, and a radio.

Then there is the bedroom of the couple, which was maintained by Safia as it is, where Zaghloul’s bed is located, as it was in the life of its owner.

From the bedroom, the visitor leaps into his dressing room to find the leader’s suits, including a suit with a small blood stain and that is the suit he was wearing during an assassination attempt in 12 July 1924 by a young man fired from his pistol and hit him in the right arm.

The next room is the Haramlak, where Safia was receiving her friends and relatives. The room has an Arabesque salon decorated with pendants and ivory and the walls have many paintings.

The Haramlak leads to another room, which is the library room of Safia, where there is a collection of books that she liked to read, and a picture of her wearing the flag of Royal Egypt in red, and a big portrait for her father, Mustafa Pasha Fahmi.

The last room is the bathroom, which consists of three small rooms, a toilet, a shower room, and a massage room with a big massage bed.

In the fort of Beit Al-Umma there is Zaghloul’s shrine, which was designed in Pharaonic style, as the state decided to build a huge memorial shrine that includes his body, whereby he was buried in Al-Imam Al-Shafi’i cemetery until the completion of the building.

The shrine occupies an area of 650 metres and is about 26 metres high, which has granite marble columns and stone walls. The shrine has two copper-plated wood doors, which are six-and-a-half metres high. The exterior and interior walls of the building are covered with marble, and the stairs are also covered with the same type of marble, the mausoleum is surrounded by a magnificent garden with statues with lamps.

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