Abdeen Palace — a witness to Egyptian history

Abdeen Palace — in all its majestic grandeur and greatness.
Updated 15 June 2019

Abdeen Palace — a witness to Egyptian history

  • Khedive Ismail ordered the construction of Abdeen Palace in 1872

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.

Algerian court jails protesters over election

Updated 19 November 2019

Algerian court jails protesters over election

ALGIERS: An Algerian court has jailed four protesters for 18 months for disrupting a candidate’s campaign for the Dec. 12 presidential election which is opposed by a mass protest movement.
The court sentenced the four on Monday after protests on Sunday in the western city of Tlemcen, where one of the five candidates, Ali Benflis, was campaigning. No details were available on what their exact actions were.
Algeria’s authorities are trying to quell a protest movement that erupted in February to demand the departure of the country’s ruling hierarchy, an end to corruption and the army’s withdrawal from politics.
The army, which has emerged as the most powerful institution in the country, has pushed for next month’s election as a means to end the protests and restore normality. The former president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, quit in April.
The judgment comes a week after a series of other prison sentences were handed down to protesters who had raised flags with Berber symbols during earlier demonstrations.
Several opposition leaders have also been held during the protests, and charged with contributing to damaging army morale.
However, the authorities have also detained numerous current and former senior officials on corruption charges, and have jailed some of them including the once untouchable former intelligence chief.
The protesters have rejected any presidential election carried out now, saying the continued presence of Bouteflika allies in the upper echelons of the government mean it cannot be free or fair.
Human Rights Watch said last week that the arrest of scores of protesters looked like “part of a pattern of trying to weaken opposition to Algeria’s interim rulers and their determination to hold presidential elections.”