Cairo: More than a century after their execution, Egypt’s most notorious female serial killers continue to rivet attention in their hometown.
Locals in Egypt’s coastal city of Alexandria have turned walls of a rickety house, once inhabited by the two sisters Rayya and Sakina, convicted of a string of homicides in the early 20th century, into an open museum.
Local and foreign visitors to Alexandria, around 215 kilometres north of Cairo, are drawn to the makeshift museum tracing the chilling history and end of Rayya and Sakina, who were sentenced to death on charges of killing 17 women in 1919, Egyptian media reported.
The mysterious disappearances of the victims had triggered panic in the Mediterranean city at the time.
Branded “Legends of Terror”, Rayya and Sakina and their husbands had lured the victims to their house to kill them and steal their jewellery.
The dead victims were buried inside the house where they were exhumed later.
Photos of the convicts, the court execution order and the police officer who arrested the killers are displayed on the front of the house in Al Laban district in Alexandria.
The perpetrators were sentenced to death on May 16, 1921, according to one document on the show.
The displayed pictures and documents were obtained from the court, one local told Egyptian news portal Al Youm Al Saba without elaborating.
When executed on December 21, 1921, the two sisters were believed to be the first women put to death by virtue of a court order in modern Egypt.
“Visitors continue to come and see the exhibit that shows a collection of rare photos,” Egyptian newspaper Al Watan quoted a local man, named Tamer, who runs a nearby bazaar named after Rayya and Sakina.
“The two sisters started their nefarious business in 1919. They were arrested in November 1920 and executed the following year,” another local told Egyptian private TV DMC.
He added that in reaction to their arrest, the then residents of the area went into raptures, with their women ululating.
The gruesome tale of Rayya and Sakena has been made into several Egyptian TV dramas and films, including a widely popular stage musical named after them.