CAIRO - 16 March 2020: Baron Empain Palace will be open for visitors in a few days. In the following lines, ET shed light on all you need to know about the recently renovated historical landmark in Cairo.
Baron Empain Palace is a historical landmark that is located in one of the most prestigious districts in Cairo, Heliopolis. The palace has a design that is inspired by the Indian architecture. It was constructed by the Belgian millionaire Baron Edward Empain (September 20, 1852 - July 22, 1929). The palace will be officially opened for visits within the next upcoming days.
Assistant Minister of Antiquities for Engineering Affairs and supervisor of the Historic Cairo Project Hisham Samir stated that renovation works inside and outside the palace is completed, using internationally recognized scientific methods. The palace’s renovation totaled up to a cost of L.E 100 million.
Samir further clarified that there are some works that have been added to the site, such as the completion of the fences and the development of the rear garden. Those works will be completed during the current month.
The exhibition inside the palace tells the history of the Heliopolis neighborhood, through a variety of photos, archival documents and illustrations, maps and special correspondence letters depicting the history of Heliopolis district in different eras.
Furthermore, the exhibition inside the palace also illustrates the different heritage sites around the district of Heliopolis, in addition to a wide variety of photos, maps, documents and films that tell the history of Heliopolis, its style, appearances and lifestyle of that special time period.
The fee of the entry ticket is priced to be affordable to almost everyone, that being L.E 100 for foreign visitors, L.E 50 for foreign students, L.E 20 for Egyptians and L.E 10 for Egyptian students. All elderly Egyptian visitors (60+ years) will be exempted of the entry fee.
Moreover, the restoration of the palace began under the supervision of the Engineering Authority of the Egyptian Armed Forces, where it started with the structural reinforcement of the palace’s ceilings, restoration and finishing of the facades, cleaning and restoration of the decorative elements, completing the deficiencies of doors and windows, cleaning and restoration of marble columns, wooden doors, metal windows and restored decorative iron windows on the main façades, in addition to the restoration of the wall painting above the main entrance and the marble statues of the outer space.
Samir noted that work has begun to raise the efficiency of the public site of the palace and the coordination of its garden.
Baron chose the Indian architectural style for the palace as he used to live in India. He came to Egypt at the end of the nineteenth century shortly after the opening of the Suez Canal.
Edward Empain was named Baron after the King of France awarded him the title in appreciation of his efforts in building the Paris metro.
Once Empain reached Egypt, he madly fell in love with the country and made a fateful decision to remain there until his death. He loved Egypt so much to the extent that he requested to be buried in Egypt even if he passed away in a different country.
Out of his love and affection for Egypt, he decided to build his residence there. Indeed, the Baron offered the Egyptian government to establish an entire district in East Cairo. He named the district Heliopolis, meaning the city of the sun.
Empain bought the feddan at the time for L.E 1 only, as the area lacked facilities, transportation, and services. He wanted to attract people to the newly established district of Heliopolis, so he decided to establish a metro there, naming it after the district; Heliopolis Metro.
He commissioned the Belgian engineer, André Berschlo, who was working at the time with the Paris Metro Company, to build a metro line linking the neighborhood or the new city to Cairo.
As for the palace, he decided for it to be legendary, from which the sun never sets, where the sunlight enters the palace from all its compartments. It has become the most luxurious palaces in Egypt of all time.
Baron Empain derived the idea for the palace after being inspired by the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia and the Hindu temples of Orissa. The palace was designed by French architect Alexander Marcel and decorated by Georges Louis Claude.
The external balconies are carried on statues of Indian elephants while the windows were decorated with Indian and Buddhist statues.
Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis was completed in 1911. Internally, it is not very spacious. It consists of two levels, containing 7 compartments. The first floor consists of a large hall and three rooms, two of which are for hospitality, and the third was used as a billiard hall.
As for the upper floor, it consists of four bedrooms, each bedroom consisting of a private bathroom. The floor of the palace is covered with marble and parquet wood. As for the basement, there were kitchens, garages, and butler rooms.