Wekalet El Ghouri, Wekalet El Ghouri Tanoura

Posted On : 10/02/2023 Kate Clark 50
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Wekalet El Ghouri is a cultural center, located in a splendid structure in the El Azhar area, in Cairo, whose activity has been managed since 2005 by the Ministry of Culture and the Fund for Cultural Development (CDF). 

Today wekalet el ghouri has become a real point of reference for the offer of cultural events, among which the most popular is celebrated on a weekly basis in the El Tanoura dance show.

About Wekalet El-Ghouri

Wekalet El-Ghouri is part of an architectural group built at the end of the Mamluk era and its importance dates back to the fact that it was founded in the era of the Mamluk, Al-Ashraf Abu Al-Nasr Qunsuwah El-Ghouri, who took over the rule of 'Egypt from 1501 to 1516 and was, thanks to his intelligence, the last Ruler of Egypt. With the end of his era came the Ottoman invasion.

Sultan Qunsuwah El-Ghouri built his important architectural group in the history of architecture, which consists of Wekalet El-Ghouri - El-Ghouri Mosque, a dome, and Al-Ghoury school.

These buildings are located at the end of El-Ghouri street at the intersection with Al-Azhar street and take the form of a distinctive architectural block.

The setting for this splendid palace is Al Azhar, an area adjacent to the famous Khan el Khalili market and dotted with other important cultural centers, such as Beit el Harawi, Beit el Seheimy, El Tannoura Performance.

As for Wekalet El-Ghouri, it is considered a model of what agencies were like in that era, luckily there is a large part of it left, which has helped to restore, repair and bring it back to its original state.

Since the end of 2000, Wekalet El-Ghouri has been involved in the restoration and documentation project, which took five years.

In October 2005, Wekalet El-Ghouri reopened its doors as an archaeological site and as a cultural center working for cultural and human development in the Islamic Cairo region.

Its cultural and artistic activities coincide with what is happening in this region in terms of architecture and urban planning.

Wekalet El-Ghouri of art is the fourth cultural center established by the cultural development fund in Al-Darb Al-Ahmar area after a successful experiment in creating creative centers in old houses in Cairo. 

Wekalet El Ghouri, also known as the Center of Arts, benefited from all this experience and all the previous experiences, as it developed the objectives of the creativity centers in the archaeological houses of Islamic Cairo.

The center has added another dimension, which keeps up with the restoration projects of Islamic Cairo's monuments and supports the huge activity taking place in the fields of architecture and urban planning as well as cultural development.  

Human development through culture, which are the basic objectives for which the cultural development fund was established.

Creative centers, including Wekalet El-Ghouri, are tools to provide cultural services to tourists and local people, so these tools have been equipped to play this role in the best way to promote tourism.

As there is already a modern stage at Wekalet El-Ghouri, dressing rooms and equipped chairs, a spacious exhibition hall with the capacity to receive 300 spectators, and an eight-sided marble fountain in the center.

 In addition to a souvenir and book outlet, the center is technically equipped with high-end sound and lighting systems.


 wekalet el ghouri tanoura

The Tanoura Band for traditional arts

The Tanoura band was formed in February 1988 at the Qasr El-Ghouri venue and performs regularly throughout the year.

The group participated in all national events within the Republic of Egypt and also participated in the cultural exchange program outside and many international festivals.

The Tanoura band was formed in February 1988 at the Qasr El-Ghouri venue and performs regularly throughout the year. The group participated in all national events within the Republic of Egypt and also participated in the cultural exchange program outside and many international festivals.

The popularity of this event requires a little patience, given the long line that regularly forms, for the many tourists and locals who want to attend the magnificent show. 

This takes place in three stages, the first dedicated to vocal performances, the second to the heart of the Sufi ritual (El Darawish), the third, more irreverent, in the explosion of dances and displays of colorful traditional costumes.


The sequences of the show

1- vocal performances:

It is a popular musical show that leads to an insight into the potential of each instrument and the capabilities of the player.

2- The Sufi Tanoura (Dervish) dance: 

The Sufi dance of Tanoura has a special character, one of a kind. This show is based on the circular movements and draws from the Islamic Sufi sense which has a philosophical and semantic basis.

The dance elements of the band depend on the dancer, who represents the sun, winding himself around himself and around him there are dancers who represent the planets, which is essentially due to Mevlevi's concept that movement in the universe starts from one point and ends at the same point, so the movement is circular.

3- Tanoura dance show: 

It is a dance based on demonstrating the dancer's skills (the swash) in the use and formation of skirts and his/her physical fitness with the use of musical phrases and a fast and varied rhythm.

Anyone who has had the opportunity to attend a show of whirling dervishes will immediately notice the more colorful and showy style, both in music and dance, due to the influence of elements of Egyptian popular culture.

However, the act of religious significance remains, for which the dancer's pose addresses one arm to the earth and one to the sky, with the precise symbolic value of connection between the two levels. 

The circular movement of the dancer represents the distancing from the earthly dimension, up to the achievement of ecstasy, in an attempt to connect with the heavenly dimension.


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By Kate Clark

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