The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Sights & Travel -
recommended

In Photos: The Majestic Grandeur of Mohammed Ali Palace

In Photos: The Majestic Grandeur of Mohammed Ali Palace
    written by
    Cairo 360

    Located on Rhoda Island in Cairo’s Manial district, the Prince Mohammed Ali Palace is unlike any historical site in the capital. Built by the uncle of King Farouk, Prince Mohammed Ali Tewfik, between 1899 and 1929, what makes the palace stand out – even next to anything you’ll find in Old Cairo, which sits a stone’s throw away across a branch of the Nile – is its unique fusion of Ottoman, Persian, art nouveau and late baroque inspirations.

    (Photo: Ahmed Darwish)

    (Photo: Ahmed Darwish)


    (Photo: Ahmed Darwish)

    These different styles seep into everything from the architecture, to the interior decorations, paying testament to the prince’s love of the finer things in life.

    (Photo: Ahmed Darwish)

    (Photo: Zeina Khalil)

    Divided into five distinctly conceived and designed buildings which sit in the middle of a stunning Persian garden, the palace was as much a home to Mohammed Ali’s grand collection of art, furniture, clothing and medieval manuscripts as it was for him.

    (Photo: Ahmed Darwish)


    (Photo: Ahmed Darwish)


    (Photo: Ahmed Darwish)


    (Photo: Ahmed Darwish)

    Lending itself to a museum blueprint, the palace was handed over to the Supreme Council of Antiquities – a former branch of the Ministry of Culture – in 1955 and quickly became one of the most striking reminders of the Mohammed Ali dynasty.

    (Photo: Zeina Khalil)

    (Photo: Zeina Khalil)

    The palace’s finely-detailed ceilings, garnished with stunning Turkish glass mishkas (chandeliers), are something to behold, as is the extensive use of Turkish jades and Persian opals throughout.

    (Photo: Ahmed Darwish)

    (Photo: Ahmed Darwish)


    (Photo: Ahmed Darwish)

    The palace is also home to one of the world’s most lavish collections of Oriental carpets and rugs, while the walls silk embroideries and portraits of royals.

    (Photo: Ahmed Darwish)

    It’s the prince’s wanderlust and extensive travels that birthed his visions, with one particularly striking element of the palace saw him purchase pieces of fallen palaces in the Levant, most notably the wooden and mother of pearl ceilings.

    (Photo: Zeina Khalil)

    The palace was something of a cultural playground in its time, with the prince often entertaining foreign dignitaries and friends, while also hosting poetry readings, lectures and concerts. Romantic era composer and pianist, Camille Saint-Saens, had a particularly close relationship with the prince and is said to have given private recitals in the palace and composed The Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major, Op. 103, also known as The Egyptian, while spending time at the palace as a house guest.

    recommended