CAIRO: Abdeen Palace in Cairo is perhaps the most famous of Egyptian palaces. It witnessed many events from the royal era up till the emergence of the modern capital.
Khedive Ismail ordered the construction of Abdeen Palace in 1872. This palace was the headquarters of the government from 1872 till the revolution of 1952.
Today, the white, red and green salons are used to receive official delegations during their visit to Egypt. Its theater, with hundreds of gilded chairs, hosts special theater performances for visitors and guests. The palace’s library contains 55,000 books.
In the palace there are many suites, such as the Belgian suite designed to accommodate the important guests of Egypt. It is named after the King of Belgium who was the first to reside there. It includes a bed that is considered a rare antique because of its decorations.
One of the palace’s museums contains treasures acquired by the sons and grandsons of Khedive Ismail, who ruled Egypt after him and were fond of putting their personal touches to the palace that reflected each successive era.
The second museum is dedicated to the possessions of the family of Mohammed Ali Pasha, the Ottoman commander who ruled Egypt in the first half of the nineteenth century. The exhibits include silverware, crystal, colored crystal, and other rare artifacts.
A delegation of Egyptian parliamentarians visited Abdeen Palace last week, after its latest renovation and restoration. The visit was to support archaeological and historical tourism and the important historical value of Egypt’s presidential palaces.
Dr. Gamal Shakra, professor of modern history at Ain Shams University, told Arab News Abdeen Palace is an important historical property and reveals the extent of the civilized development that Egypt witnessed during that period. “Everyone knows the ancient civilization of Egypt, but we need to show the world what Egypt has achieved in the modern era through Abdeen Palace,” he said.
“Abdeen Palace is part of Egypt’s history. The renovation of the palace turned out much more beautiful than we expected,” said Mr. Osama Heikal, chairman of the Information Committee at the Egyptian Parliament.
“The style of the furniture and architecture is not found in old European countries, and the skilled labor that carried out this piece of work contributed greatly to its beauty,” said Heikal.
“Abdeen Palace is an important destination for foreign tourists, changing our image for the better. It is an opportunity for the West to learn the history of Egypt in the modern era,” said Amr Sidqi, head of the Committee of Tourism and Civil Aviation at the Egyptian Parliament.
The opening times of Abdeen Palace are 9 a.m. — 5 p.m. Tickets cost 100 pounds ($6) for foreigners and 50 pounds foreign students, 20 pounds for Egyptians or Arabs, 10 pounds for Egyptian or Arab students.