Royal Carriages Museum houses a collection of unique Royal Carriages attributed to different historical periods, from the reign of Khedive Ismail until the reign of King Farouk, in addition to other collections of unique antiques related to the carriages. The museum was inaugurated in 1983. Then it was re-inaugurated after its renovation in 2013. Further restoration took place in 2017, and the museum was reopened again in 2021.
Location of Royal Carriages Museum
The Royal Carriages Museum is located at the Citadel in Cairo, Egypt, in front of Suleiman Pasha Mosque.
Construction of the Royal Carriages Museum
The Royal carriages Museum was first established in Boulaq to house one of the earliest of its kind worldwide, both from the prospect of the authenticity of its building and the originality of its displays. The building was particularly adapted to preserve the cultural heritage of the royal carriages and all related materials dating back to the era of the Mohammed Ali Dynasty.
The idea of establishing the museum building dates back to the reign of khedive Ismail (r. 1863- 1879). He thought of founding a particular structure for housing the horses and the khedivial carriages. Initially, the establishment was called the “Khedivial Carriages Service”, then its name was changed in 1922 to “Royal Stables Department (Royal Mews)” under the reign of King Fouad (r. 1917- 1936).
Being the focus of royal attention, this establishment was provided with all specialised experts and skilled workers. The building was converted into a museum after the revolution of 1952.
A carriage is displayed in the Royal Carriages Museum in Cairo, Egypt, on Nov. 1, 2020. The Royal Carriages Museum in Cairo reopened to visitors on Oct. 31, 2020, after the closure of nearly two decades. The museum houses royal carriages and horse guards’ accessories of the Mohamed Ali dynasty, many of which were exquisite foreign presents to the royal family. The museum closed for restoration in 2001, but soon the project was halted. The restoration project was re-launched by the Egyptian government in 2017. Again, the Royal Carriages Museum reopened its doors in May 2022.
The Museum houses a unique collection. The most notable are various sizes and types of royal carriages. One of the most distinguished objects in the Museum is the grand Alay Carriage, characterised by its most delicate quality and elaborate decoration.
The Royal Carriage Museum displays horse saddles and horse riding gear. The displayed carriages include a golden carriage presented to Napoleon III by Khedive Ismail; it was the gift of Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Empress Eugenie to Khedive Ismail on the occasion of the Suez Canal inauguration 1869. the carriage used by Khedive Ismail when he inaugurated the Suez Canal. Collection also includes a large carriage sent by Khedive Ismail to welcome visiting royal families from Arabia and Europe and a black and gold carriage with red highlights.
The museum also displays the personal carriage used by King Fouad Pasha, the last King of Egypt who was deposed by the revolution. There is also an old carriage that represents the type of carriage used by government officials during the reign of Khedive Ismail.
King Faruk ordered its restoration and used it at the inauguration of the Parliament in 1942. It also contains horse riding equipment, uniforms of the Carriages Service employees, and oil paintings dating to the same era.
This special Alay carriage (alayis, a Turkish word that means “regiment” or “battalion”) is a type of carriage named “Berline” after the city from which this carriage had originated. It was a gift from French Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Empress Eugenie to Khedive Ismail on the occasion of the Suez Canal inauguration in 1869.
It is a four-wheeled, enclosed ceremonial carriage. It has two bench seats facing each other and an elevated front seat for the coachman, and a rear leather platform for the groom. It was pulled by eight horses headed by a ninth horse for the guide. It was accompanied by a regular Alay and two half-Alay carriages and was served by fourteen persons: one guide, two postilions, one coachman, two Grooms and eight Qumshagis (footmen).
King Farouk, I ordered it to be renewed and used in Parliament in 1942. It was also used in wedding ceremonies; the most famous was King Farouk’s wedding to Queen Farida in 1938.
Khedive Ismail met the beautiful Eugenie during his studies in France; Then, he was surprised that she became Empress of France, and when the Suez Canal inauguration, he invited her to attend the inauguration and built her Gezira Palace (Marriott Hotel) in Zamalek with French style as a mirror image of Tuileries Palace so feels that she is still in France. Khedive Ismail also ordered to establish Jabaliya Garden for Empress to enjoy. When Eugenie departed after the inauguration of the Suez Canal, he presented a bedroom of pure gold to her. Empress has been visiting Egypt annually since the death of Khedive Ismail and begins her visit to Cairo by visiting the widows of Khedive Ismail, all places she stayed with him and seeing his grave in Al-Rifai Mosque.
Oil painting of king Fouad’s favourite donkey with a royal palace in the background.
It is a large four-wheeled wooden carriage that is unusually covered with zinc plates. Made in England, reign of khedive khedive ismail (r. 1863- 1879).
It was used for the transportation of furniture and kitchen supplies. It is equipped with a front seat for the coachman, a rear door and iron handrails fixed at the top of the carriage box. It was driven by two coachmen and pulled by two pairs of horses.