Tour of the House of Mohammed Ali Pasha

Stable
Hayat
Next floor
Ground floor of Mohammed Ali's Mansion
Odah
Haremlik
Guard's 
lodging
Upper floor of Mohammed Ali's Mansion
Previous floor
Hammam
Musafir 
 Odah
Mohammed
Ali's Room
Sofas

The stable is a paved area and belongs to the men’s quarters. The main entrance of the building was originally located here. The men of the house or the guests entered leading their horses, which were watered in the stone drinking-trough that remains entirely intact. The animals' breaths in the stable provided sufficient heat to the rooms above.

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On the same wall with the drinking-trough, there is a small but deep alcove - containing a rotating box - which also opens from the exterior, the women's quarters. This is an Ottoman contraption that allowed the women of the house to provide food to the men without having eye contact with them. The wooden staircase that leads to the upper floor is the original. Behind it, in the background, there was originally a small toilet.

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The ground floor of Hayati (in Turkish it means life, activity) is a paved, semi-enclosed space. It belongs to the women’s quarters and accommodated the house’s service facilities and the daily activities of the household. Now, it has become an exhibition space for the museum. 

To the left of the women's entrance there is a fountain, where a marble ancient colonnade is integrated. The fact that the building was the only residence in the city that had a private fountain, certifies the financial prosperity of the owner. The water was coming from the mountain and was channeled to Mohammed Ali’s House, as well as other public fountains, through the old Aqueduct (Kamares). 

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On the opposite side there is an open colonnade, overlooking an elongated courtyard with a high, stone wall, which ensured the privacy.
Part of the Hayati is occupied by the Cellar, the floor of which was originally covered in earth to keep the space cool and the supplies fresh. This was converted into guest lavatories. At the far end of the ground floor, there would have been the other utility rooms of the residence, such as the washhouse, oven and kitchen, which are no longer preserved.

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The staircase of the ground floor Hayati leads to the upper floor of the women’s quarters. This hall connected all the rooms of the women's quarters: the Reception Room, the Odah, the Hammam and a blind corridor that probably served as a small storage room. This bright and spacious area was the locus of everyday life of the women during the summer months.
In the center of the outer wall, on a wooden ledge, a washbasin is formed. In this spot jugs of water where placed. The floor of the room is partially elevated, creating a low platform (sofa). Here is the only door in the house, which connected the women’s quarters with the men’s quarters.

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Initially, the hall was semi-enclosed and screened by wooden trellises. The glass panelling on the exterior windows were later added for protection. In contrast, the interior windows, which separate the hall from the individual rooms, remain the same.

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The Odah, the largest room of the house, is a spacious hall of the women’s quarters. It has a fireplace and a deep built-in wardrobe (messandra), where the bed linens of the household were arranged, while the small selves in the corner alcoves were designed for little objects of everyday use. All three sides of the room are bordered by low couches (sofas).
The Odah was the women’s multi-purpose space: a place of sojourn and entertainment during the day, was transformed into a dining room with the addition of a low collapsed table, while at night, it turned into a bedroom.

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Nineteenth-century European artists who visited the East (the so-called Orientalistes) created enchanting scenes where women were depicted in the Odah, either embroidering, reading, laying out cards or playing some musical instruments while seated on a sofa covered in precious fabrics.
Among the exhibits in this room, there are old, oriental jewelry and women's accessories.

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The bathhouse, hammam, is considered the most distinctive part of the Ottoman dwelling. The hammam was a process particularly loved by women, who found the opportunity to bathe, scent themselves with essential oils and creams, treat their skin and hair, while exchanging beauty secrets and conversations. In Mohammed Ali’s house, the specific area is quite simple and functional, divided into three sections: a room with a fireplace, which served as a changing room and relaxation area, the inner bathroom, and the latrine with the wooden "Turkish" toilet. The rooms are ventilated by a small hole in the ceiling.

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The small space that constitutes the Bath has a built-in bench with two basins, to which the women carried the water from the fountain on the ground floor. The underside of the bench communicates - through an opening - with the fireplace of the front room. In this way heat from the fireplace is conveyed to the water supplying the Bath. 

Among the exhibits in the space are old silver brushes, hand mirrors and various other objects related to grooming. They date back to the early 20th century.

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This elegant corner room has a fireplace framed by a low sofa. The wall to the right of the entrance is occupied by a deep in-built wardrobe, the messandra. The ceiling is decorated with wooden-carved flower motifs and a rosette at the center.
 The privileged location of the room, along with its careful details, create an especially delightful space which led to the conclusion that this was the “best” chamber of the house where the inhabitants received visitors, despite the fact that in corresponding Ottoman residences, the equivalent room is found in the Men’s Quarters.

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The wooden staircase of the stable leads to the upper floor of the men’s quarters (selamlik ). It is a hall with a wooden floor, latticed windows and a sofa that is bordered by a low balustrade. 

On the opposite side are two rooms: one is considered Mohammed Ali's personal room, the one next to it is the lodging of his personal guard.

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The window right next to the guard's room opens onto Mohammed Ali Square and offers a direct view of the statue of the legendary man of Kavala who was destined to become King of Egypt. The statue was crafted by the sculptor Konstantinos Dimitriadis, after being commissioned by the Greek communities of Egypt. 

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The smaller room in the men’s quarters stands out for its elegant proportions and elaborate details, and is considered Mohammed Ali's private room. It has a fireplace, a built-in messandra for storing clothing and equipment, and a low bed with a wooden balustrade. 

 

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One of the most essential exhibits in this room is the sword with its case, found stored within an Imaret’s wall during the restoration of the monument. 

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The second room of the the men’s quarters is considered the lodging of the owner's guard. Mohammed Ali, during his stay in Kavala, served as the city's commander, i.e. the head of the Ottoman guard, an office of power and prestige. The room's facing windows offer a view of the street and the entrances to the house. There is a fireplace, and a low sitting platform (sofas) which runs along the two sides of the room. 

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The room has no large storage space (messandra), except for a built-in cabinet, which currently contains objects related to the past function of Imaret as an educational institution, such as accounting documents, stamps and ink pots. 

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The House of Mohammed Ali, one of the most important Ottoman architectural monuments in Northern Greece, is associated with the founder of modern Egypt, Mohammed Ali Pasha (1769 – 1849). Born in Kavala, the founder of the dynasty that ruled Egypt until 1952, was a legendary figure. A brave general, intelligent politician and skilled leader, he promoted modernising methods and carried out radical reforms in the fields of economy, health care and education, which – combined with his Europe-friendly policies – made Egypt a strong, prosperous and modern state. However, he never forgot his hometown, a fact reflected in his charitable works to the city, such as the construction of the Imaret, a charitable foundation, which is considered a jewel of Ottoman architecture. He died in Alexandria in 1849.

The House of Mohammed Ali is one of the most important historical buildings of Kavala, which in the late 18th century was one of the main tobacco trading centres of the Ottoman Empire, as well as one of the most important ports of the Mediterranean. The building is a typical example of an Ottoman mansion of the second half of the 18th century: it is two-storeyed, with a stone-built base and a lightly projecting floor with covered balconies (sahnisia), which provide a view of the street, while ensuring protection from prying eyes. The privacy of the residence is further enhanced by the garden that surrounds it on three sides. The house consists of the two main units – the Haremlik (women’s quarters) and the Selamlik (men’s quarters) – that characterize the Ottoman residence and which reflect the living standards of the Ottoman society. The ground floor is a semi-outdoor space that housed the household’s utility areas (cellar, kitchen, laundry), while all the living, dining and sleeping rooms, as well as the hammam, are located on the upper floor. The fireplaces in all the rooms, as well as the existence of a private fountain, attest to the owner’s social status and economic prosperity.

The ownership of the House of Mohammed Ali, as well as the Imaret, belongs to the Egyptian government as a Waqf property. The building is managed by the MOHA Research Centre, which was established in 2006 to promote the intercultural dialogue between Greece, the Mediterranean countries and the Islamic world, through a series of research programmes and cultural activities. Equipped with multimedia for further information, the monument supports education, research and recreation. Lectures, periodical exhibitions, educational programmes and a variety of intercultural activities aim to familiarise visitors with the neighbouring cultures of the East and promote channels of communication between East and West.