Taha Hussein museum via Wikimedia Commons
CAIRO – 8 September 2017: The Taha Hussein Museum in Al Haram Giza, also known as the Ramatan, is dedicated to one of the modern Arab world’s most important authors.
Born on 1889 in Upper Egypt, Hussein lost his eyesight at the young age of three. This did not hold him back however, Hussein went on to champion for the rights of education to the poor and women. He received the first PHD in Egypt in 1914, and was elected as the Minister of Education in 1950.
Throughout his lifetime Hussein published over fifty books relating to philosophy, history, education and literature theory, alongside translating numerous foreign language books into Arabic. For his efforts in championing better human rights in Egypt, Hussein was awarded the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights, and also received the Order of the Nile, Egypt’s highest possible award.
The Ramatan was built from the house Hussein lived in from 1955, a two-story villa. Its name translates to ‘two oasis where caravans visit,’ a name chosen as the house was shared by Hussein with his son, and built in a way to encourage both privacy and closeness. The house was converted into a museum after Hussein’s death in 1973.
Outside in the garden is a bronze bust of the writer that greets visitors, and features a pedestal with the date of his birth and death. The Museum’s ground floor is Hussein’s study and library, which features a selection of Hussein’s 7,000 strong book collections.
Also featured is a grand reception hall which hosted esteemed writers and politicians every Sunday. In a corner of a room sits a grand piano and gramophone, which reveals Hussein’s love for music. His tastes featured rare works by Schubert, Verdi, Bach, Mozart, Schuman and other composers. The Ramatan’s second floor is more personal, featuring three bedrooms including being the residence of Hussein’s wife and featuring heirlooms belonging to her. Her bedroom features several paintings by artists such as Zeinab Abdel Aziz, Youssef Kamel and Pierre Martin.
The Ramatan honors the life not only of one of Egypt’s finest writers but an activist and educator who worked hard to improve the lives of those in the country, leaving a positive contribution both to the lives and libraries of Egypt.