Bayt al-Suhaymi is one of the most beautiful houses in Cairo. It was established during the Ottoman Period, by Sheikh Abdul Wahhab al-Tablawi in 1058 AH/1648 AD. It is located in al-Gamaliya district, on al-Darb al-Asfar Alley, just off of al-Mu’izz Street.
After the house was first founded, Bayt al-Suhaymi’s second section was built by Haj Ismail Shalaby in 1211 AH/1796 AD, after which it was purchased by Sheikh Shehab al-Din Ahmed al-Suhaymi in 1228 AH/1813 AD. This man, after whose name the house is still known, was one of the leading scholars of al-Azhar.
The house consists of several buildings with wonderful mashrabiyas overlooking a magnificent garden in a large courtyard. The mashrabiya is a projecting ornate wooden latticework window that gave the residents of a building privacy, by allowing them to look out, while shielding them from prying eyes.
Bayt al-Suhaymi also has a reception hall in which the owner of the house sat on a large chair, or maq'ad (loggia), surrounded by his guests. The maq’ad, guests’ benches, and their beautiful wooden latticework are very well preserved.
Some of the most significant features of the house are its hamam, or bathing area, its many wells that provided water for the house, and a cattle-powered grain mill. Many other interesting objects can be seen here, including a birth chair and a water wheel, which was used to irrigate the garden, which also still has its wooden gearbox.