The Delta town of Mansoura which lies on the eastern branch of the Nile Delta, the Damietta branch, boasts a museum that is the envy of many other towns in Egypt. The museum has undergone thorough restoration, and was last week reopened by Culture Minister Helmy al-Namnam and Daqahliya Governor Hussam Imam.
Mansoura was built in 1219 by Sultan al-Kamil. After the Egyptians defeated the Crusaders during the Sixth Crusade, the town was named Mansoura, literally The Victorious.
In the Seventh Crusade, the Capetians were defeated in Egypt and forced to flee. Louis IX of France, also known as St Louis, was captured in the main Battle of Mansoura, and confined in the house (dar) of Ibrahim Ibn Loqman, secretary of the sultan. The king’s brother was imprisoned in the same house.
The Mansoura museum is housed in the 13th century Dar Ibn Loqman. The 294.5 square metre Dar overlooks the Nile and was built in 1218 by Fakhruddin Ibn al-Qadi, the chief judge in Egypt but is famous as the place in which Louis IX was imprisoned in 1249. He was ransomed and released a year later.
Annexed to the Dar is a modern, well-equipped hall, 275 square metres wide, that houses artistic works such as paintings and statues, and an art gallery where cultural events and seminars are held.
The museum’s collection consists of 45 pieces that include Crusader weaponry and military gear, the most important being the helmet of King Louis IX, and a few of his personal belongings.
There are also bronze busts of King Louis IX and the Mamluk Prince Toran Shah, as well as a collection of statues. Two oil paintings depict the battle in the town of Faraskour and King Louis IX being led handcuffed to the Dar where he remained confined till he was ransomed a year later. A third painting glorifies the major battle in the city of Mansoura. The museum’s paintings and sculptures were made by a group of modern Egyptian artists.
23 October 2015