In pics: Business of recovering antique doors in Egypt



Sat, 18 Jun 2022 - 01:51 GMT


Sat, 18 Jun 2022 - 01:51 GMT

Old doors at Othman's workshop

Old doors at Othman's workshop

CAIRO – 18 June 2022: It is believed that Egypt is full of treasures in every inch of it, that is not limited to archaeological discoveries.


Old districts in Cairo, like Sabtya district, is one of few areas where there are lots of exciting tales of history in its roads and alleys. The district hosts the largest group of collectors of ancient wood doors; among of whom is Fathi Othman.




Entering into Othman’s place, you will get the sense that you are walking inside a museum of old wooden doors, and that they are put for display only. But this type of antiques has its own customers who consider it masterpieces worthy of appreciation.


Inherited the profession of collecting old doors from his father, Othman gathers ancients doors from various governorates in Egypt; including: Upper Egypt, Alexandria and Beheira.


Othman works in this profession with his five sisters, and despite the obstacles facing them in collecting, cleaning and restoring the doors, they believe in the importance of their work to all people.




“Each door holds in the secrets and lives of the people of the house,” he said.


Othman’s workshop has doors that date back to 100 years ago, holding in the stories of that time, he added.


In the beginning, Othman says he cleans and restores the door, return it to its original color without any addition.




He added, “If I change anything in the original look of the door it means its value will decrease, and so does its price.”  


“The beauty of the door is in its origins and I work to return it as it was, he explained,” saying that he might stop working on a door if a wood bug infection was found, because it is contagious and could damage the old doors.


Othman places all his old doors in the air and the sun, because they are made with utmost precision and are strong. “These doors lived for many years exposed to heat, cold, rain and dust; they can bear everything because they are from heritage.. that’s why their prices are expensive.”




Among the collections of the old doors at Othman’s place, he considers the most beautiful ones are that of Upper Egypt’s palaces.


"I have many old doors from palaces in Upper Egypt, where doors have a lot of decorations, and there are some clients who love that kinds of doors,” he said.


Othman also have doors from palaces in Tanta, Mansoura and Sharqiya. He also have doors made with palm-shaped knockers, known as “Fatima’s palm.”




Othman’s clients include celebrities and media producers who use the doors in films and drama.


He concluded saying, “I am satisfied with my life and my work, and my happiest time is when I buy an old door that is lovely in its shape, wood and decorations.”


Reporting by Mennatallah Hamdy 



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