The Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo houses one of greatest collections of Islamic works in the world, with over 2,500 artifacts dating from the 7th century CE to the end of the 19th century CE. The museum has 25 galleries and a great diversity of cultural artifacts, including carpets, coins, ceramics, jewelry, manuscripts, marble carvings and rare woodwork.
The museum was originally housed within the ruined Mosque of the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim, which had been proposed as the site of a new museum in 1881. In the late 19th century, the first gallery furnished in the newly converted museum in the late 19th century held 111 artifacts from a variety of monuments. The collection quickly outgrew its surroundings, and in 1884 a two-floor structure was developed in the courtyard to house the burgeoning collection of Islamic and Arab antiquities. By the late 1890s, the collection again exceeded its new space and the new (and current) building was constructed in a Neo-Mamluk style. The museum was completed in 1902 in the Bab Al-Khalq area of Cairo, where the museum was first located, in the repurposed mosque.
Following a multi-million dollar revision, the museum was severely damaged by a car bomb blast that took place on January 24, 2014. The bomb was believed to target the police headquarters across the street from the museum, yet the resulting blast caused irreparable damage to the museum’s artifacts and façade.