El Gawhara Palace: A Forgotten Piece of Architectural Beauty



Tue, 19 Sep 2017 - 03:44 GMT


Tue, 19 Sep 2017 - 03:44 GMT

Photo courtesy of Egyptian Museums

Photo courtesy of Egyptian Museums

CAIRO – 19 September 2017: El Gawhara Palace remains a forgotten gem located in the famous Salah El Din Citadel. Egypt Today takes a deeper outlook on the treasures hidden within.

The Salah El Din Citadel is known for including Muhammad Ali Mosque, the National Police Museum, Egyptian National Military Museum, and Al Gawhara Palace, which has been closed for many years.

The palace has a great view of Islamic Cairo, and Saladin Citadel can be seen from its windows. It was built by Muhammad Ali in 1814 as a private residence for his wife, that is why it’s called "El Gawhara," in her name.

He provided the palace with the richest decorations and furniture to furnish it as an outstanding architectural and artistic symbol. Muhammad Ali's reign period marked a true architectural and artistic renaissance.

An enormous gilt and marble mirror decorate the palace's entrance, which leads to the main hall.


It consists of two floors; the first one has the main reception hall, two minor halls, throne hall, and a garden called The Lions Garden. The second floor is home to many royal suites.

The main entrance also leads to a number of minor attachments, which served as a residence for guards and servants.

There are a number of famous halls in the palace such as Clocks Hall and Documents [Faramanat] hall.

Although it was constructed as a residence, Ali used it for receiving royal delegates and kings.

A number of rare and valuable collectibles are kept in the palace, including a historical chandelier received from the French King Louis Philippe. Additionally, the gilt throne is one of the important collectibles, which was sent as a present from the king of Italy.

The Royal Bedroom, a number of Ali's family belongings and portraits, unique pieces of furniture, as well as colourful and gilt decorations reflect the greatness of Islamic and Ottoman architecture resident in the forgotten palace.

Another historical sign that Al Gawhara indicates is the famous Massacre of the Citadel, when Ali killed more than 400 mamluks in defence of his rule of Egypt.

The palace has been burned down three times: in 1819, 1823, and in 1972.


The palace was restored and reopened in 1983, providing additional displaying halls such as Kaaba Hall that displays parts from Kaaba's Kiswah and Queen Eugénie de Montijo's bedroom furniture, which she used while residing in Egypt.

Eugénie de Montijo was the wife of Napeleon III of France. She was invited by Ismael Pasha to attend the opening of Suez Canal.

Visitors to Saladin Citadel often wonder, when will Al Gawhara Palace be opened again?



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