Who is Baron Empain, founder of historic Baron Palace in Cairo?

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Mon, 29 Jun 2020 - 03:48 GMT

FILE - Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis, The City of the Sun

FILE - Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis, The City of the Sun

CAIRO – 29 June 2020: President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi inaugurated on June 29 the historic Baron Palace in Cairo's Heliopolis district, after a two-year restoration period, during which the Egyptian state harnessed all potentials to restore and develop the palace, after many years of neglect.

The Baron Palace, one of the most famous and oldest historical palaces in Cairo, has been the source of myths and tales with which young people were associated for years. Egyptians expressed happiness with such event, after the circulation of the photos of the restored palace.
Screen Shot 2020-06-29 at 3.04.46 PM
Édouard Louis Joseph Empain - Founder of Baron Empain palace and Heliopolis District in Cairo

This palace was named "Baron Palace" in relation to its owner, Belgian millionaire Baron Édouard Louis Joseph Empain, who came to Egypt from India at the end of the 19th century, a few months after the opening of the Suez Canal.

Empain loved Egypt so much and made a fateful decision to stay in Egypt until his death. He wrote in his will that he wants to be buried in Egypt even if he passes away outside of its borders.

Moreover, Empain built the palace in Egypt to be his place of residence. The breath-taking historical palace was built in 1911 in the heart of Heliopolis, Cairo, specifically on Al-Oruba Street, on the main road to Cairo International Airport.

Empain held the title Baron, which was awarded to him by the King of France in appreciation of his efforts in building the Paris metro; Empain was a distinguished engineer.

Heliopolis at that time was merely a barren desert, and during this period, Empain presented to the Egyptian government the idea of establishing a neighborhood in the desert east of Cairo, and chose the name "Heliopolis", meaning the city of the sun.

He also considered establishing a metro line within the neighborhood to attract the largest number of Egyptians to live in this new suburb, where he commissioned the Belgian engineer, André Barcelona, who was working at that time with the Paris metro company to create a metro line linking the neighborhood or the new city to Cairo.

The palace was designed so that all rooms and halls are exposed to the sun from all directions. The palace was built on a special concrete base which allows it to turn on an hourly basis. The Baron Palace is without a doubt one of the most luxurious palaces in Egypt and the world.

The Baron was inspired by the design of the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia and the Hindu Odisha temples. Designed by Alexandre Marcel and decorated by Georges Louis Claude, the palace’s construction was completed in 1911.


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