Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Baron's Palace


Around the turn of the century...the last one, that is...a Belgian Edouard Louis Joseph Baron Empain bought six thousand feddans of land from the ruling family of Egypt to establish a new city outside of Cairo. Heliopolis (meaning City of the Sun) is commonly called Misr Gadeeda or New Cairo/New Egypt locally. It was a luxurious suburb of Cairo, then separated from the city by desert, but now closely connected by rapid transit and roads. He commissioned a French architect to build him a palace designed after a Hindu temple, although the rest of the area had a quite distinctive architectural style. The palace was nationalised after the revolution, and recently was retrieved from some foreign buyers by the government to renovate and use as a public building, perhaps a museum. It has always been one of the odder landmarks on the main road into Cairo from the airport.

7 comments:

Dina said...

Like a Hindu temple--that IS surprising! The topiary is interesting too.
So you use feddan there? Here we still use the Ottoman dunam.

Cairo Typ0 said...

I attempted to get a photo of this cool gothic building a few weeks ago but was unsucessful due to the fact that i was in a rather swiftly moving vehicle. It really does look like it should be the centre of a great horror flick.

Abid said...

Nice picture!

Gala said...

Maryanne! I have heard something interesting about this palace. That there is one room is moving folloving the sun. Did you hear anything about that?

Maryanne Stroud Gabbani said...

With such an extraordinary building as this, you can be sure that the stories abound...like the one about how the Baron had the architect killed so that he couldn't make another building like it. Rubbish, entertaining rubbish but rubbish. With a place like this, who needs more?

Anonymous said...

hi marianne..i have noticed this building when i was on may may to the hotel from the aireport , i will back in egypt in marsh but i would like to stop and visit ..is it possible ?

Maryanne Stroud Gabbani said...

You might be able to but it isn't on any normal tours. It's empty and I believe in the process of renovation.