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 El Sakakini Palace


El Sakakini Palace

  • El Sakakini Palace considered to be one of the oldest palaces in Egypt, the Palace is a unique masterpiece that embodies a state of creativity and beauty at the level of architectural design.
  • It was built in 1897 AD, by Habib Pasha Sakakini.
  • His nickname "Sakakini", attributed to his father, who was in the manufacture of white weapons.

El Sakakini Palace

  • Sakakini Palace was built by Italian architects, who came specially to participate in its construction.
  • The Italian architect built it to  be a copy of an Italian palace, Habib Pasha Sakakini had seen it and wanted to imitate it,  or make a copy of it in Cairo.

Who was the owner of the palace?


  • Habib Basha Sakakini (Gabriel Habib Sakakini).
  •  He was born in Damascus, Syria, and arrived in Egypt at the age of 16-17 years.

The process of digging the Suez Canal 


  • The process of digging the Suez Canal suffered a great deal because of the spread of mice.
  • Their spread, became so wild, as it corrupted the machines, equipment, and they devoured the food of about 20 thousand workers.
  • When all the methods and pesticides failed to eliminate this dilemma, "Ferdinand de Lesseps" was forced to stop working in the canal.
  • Habib Al-Sakakini knew about the crisis, so he went to "Ferdinand de Lesseps" to offer him a solution to that problem, which is to put hungry cats for these mice.
  • Within days, the mice had completely disappeared.
  • Due to his skill and intelligence, the Khedive Ismail, the ruler of Egypt at the time, gave him the arduous task of completing the construction of the Khedivial Opera, With the Italian architect Pietro Avoscani.
  • Sakakini was able to complete the project in a timely manner, by organizing the work in a system of shifts in three periods, that's helped to open the opera on its scheduled date, 19 November 1869, that's made him close to Khedive Ismail.
  • So the Khedive rewarded him bestowed upon him the title "Pasha".
  • After that, Habib Sakakini became a major contractor.
  • In 1901, the Pope in Rome granted him the title "Count" for his community service of the Roman Catholic community (he built an orphanage for them, he bought palace in Faggala, and presented it to the sect with the aim of converting it into  church, in addition to that he built cemeteries for them in Old Cairo neighborhood.
  • He chose an attractive location for his palace, radiating 8 main roads from it, getting such a site was not easy at that time, but Sakakini Pasha’s relationship with the Khedive made the task easier.

El Sakakini Palace design


El Sakakini Palace


  • The palace was built on an area of ​​2,698 square meters.
  • The construction of the palace took 5 years.

Rococo

  • The palace was built in the Rococo style, this art appeared in France at the beginning of the 18th century AD.
  • It includes more than 50 rooms, while it is five floors high.
  • The palace contains more than 400 windows and doors, in addition to 300 statues, including a bust of Habib Pasha Sakakini at the top of the main entrance of the palace, most  of the statues made in Italy and France.
  • Its corners are surrounded by 4 towers, each of which is surmounted by a small dome.
  • There are 6 entrance gates to the palace, each located in front of one of the main streets.

The basement 


  • The palace contains a basement, it is 6 stairs down from the ground.
  • It is devoid of embellishment and was intended for servants and kitchens.

White granite fountain


  • In front of the fountain are two statues of two lions made of white granite and marble, which were imported from Italy.

El Sakakini Palace

  • The European design shows the letter (S) the first letter of the name  El Sakakini Pasha in English, and the letter (H) the first letter of the name of his wife.
  • In 1923 Habib Pasha Sakakini died and his wealth was divided among the heirs who gave the palace to the Egyptian government.
  • After the July 1952 revolution, the palace was used as one of the headquarters of the Socialist Union.
  • Then, it turned into a health education museum in the year 1961.
  • It was suffered from neglect;  as a result of using its "basement" as medical clinics.
  • This palace was registered among the Islamic and Coptic Egyptian antiquities according to Prime Minister Decree No. 1691 of 1987, to be placed under the auspices of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Family 

  • Habib married a Syrian woman called Henriette.
  • In 1890, they had one son called Henry.
  • He obtained a master's degree in Egyptian history in 1911, then a doctorate in Law from the University of Paris in 1915.
  • Henriette died in 1902, then Habib died in 1923 to be buried in the Catholic cemetery that he had established.

The restoration of the palace 

  • The restoration of the palace comes within the framework of a plan to restore and re-exploit the historical and archaeological squares and palaces of the Egyptian capital.

The References 

  • https://www.egypt-monuments1.website/2021/03/baron-empain-palace-1.html
  • https://architizer.com/projects/el-sakakini-palace/
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suez_Canal
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_de_Lesseps#:~:text=Ferdinand%20Marie%2C%20vicomte%20de%20Lesseps,between%20Europe%20and%20East%20Asia.
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isma%27il_Pasha
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khedivial_Opera_House
  • https://www.britannica.com/topic/count#:~:text=Count%2C%20feminine%20countess%2C,a%20local%20commander%20and%20judge.
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