Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Palace of modern Egypt’s ‘founder’ returns to old glory




Palace of modern Egypt’s ‘founder’ returns to old glory

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A worker paints a window frame during the restoration of Mohamed Ali Shubra Palace in Cairo. Afp

Palace of modern Egypt’s ‘founder’ returns to old glory

A once splendid but long dilapidated Egyptian palace built for a trailblazing Ottoman governor is being restored to its former glory and is on course to open next year, according to authorities.

The 210-year-old palace of Mohamed Ali Shubra – credited with being the founder of modern Egypt – combined western and Muslim styles of architecture.

Opulently furnished with priceless paintings, high ceilings and stunning chandeliers, much of the restoration process involves the careful cleaning of these delicate artefacts.

Work on the paintings has been particularly intricate.

“Tests were done on the colours until we were able to reach the actual components of the original colours”, said Mohamed Sadeq, the site’s executive manager. “We started removing the previous restorations that were done over the years until we reached the original colours.”

Significant work has also been required to repair the exteriors of buildings.

A car bomb claimed by an Islamic State affiliate – targeting a security agency building adjacent to the palace – exploded in 2015, shattering stained glass and damaging two buildings at the historic site.

Fountains and lush gardens surround the complex – known as the Mohamed Ali Shubra palace, referencing its location within a Cairo neighbourhood – and stretch over 24ha.

“The palace has special significance as it was built using the most advanced methods at the time,” said Mariem Youssef, head of the project tasked with renovating the royal residence.

Ali, an Ottoman viceroy of Albanian origin, ruled for nearly half of the 19th century.

He overhauled Egypt’s assets – from agriculture to the military – and set up its infrastructure.

Over time his palace has disintegrated, like many historic buildings in Cairo.

“The wood inside has aged,” said Youssef, noting also the effect of the 2015 blast.

Egypt’s multiple historical monuments and buildings are a major draw for tourists, but the country has often faced accusations of neglect of cultural heritage sites.

Last month, authorities defended their restoration of Cairo’s Baron Palace after the site’s new look sparked mockery on social media.

The cost of the restoration effort at Mohamed Ali’s palace is around $11.9 million.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15