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Baron Empain Palace 1

Baron Empain Palace 1 had a unique architectural style building that has no parallel in the whole of Egypt.

Baron Empain Palace 1

Who was Baron Empain?

Baron Empain Palace 1

He was called Baron Edward Empain 1, who was a brilliant Belgian engineer, he was passionate about travel, in addition to that he had a distinct economic mentality that helped him raise money, he bore the title "Baron", after the King of France granted it to him in recognition of his great efforts in building the Metro of Paris, So a French newspaper wrote upon his death, "The king of the metro is dead”.

He came to Egypt at the end of the nineteenth century (After the opening of the Suez Canal), When he came to Egypt, he became fond of all that is Egyptian, So he decided to stay in Egypt, and set up a luxurious palace to be his home, he offered to the Egyptian government the idea of establishing a neighbourhood in the desert east of Cairo, and chose the name (Heliopolis) for it, which meaning the city of the sun, but Baron Empain died after suffering with cancer, on July 22, 1929, and was buried according to his will in the basement of the Basilica Church in Heliopolis (These church was built by Baron himself), Since that time the palace has been in danger of being neglected for many years.

Baron Empain Palace 1

Restoration work

  • Many attempts were made to restoration of the palace by Belgian, and Indian missions in 2009, Studies were prepared to restor it, but the 2011 revolution disrupted the project, then, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities began restoration work in 2017, which ended with its opening in January 2020, it cost about 175 million Egyptian pounds.

Original colour

  • Baron Empain wanted to distinguish his palace from the rest of the Heliopolis buildings, which were characterized by the "yellow" desert colour, so he chose the color of burnt brick for his palace, which was inspired from the 12th century temples of North India, the restoration team of the Baron Palace in 2017 was keen to restore the original colour of the palace.

Baron Empain Palace 1

History of  the Palace 

Baron Empain Palace 1

Baron  Palace took about 5 years to construct, and it was inaugurated in 1911, Baron bought the feddan from the Egyptians government, for only one Egyptian pound, as the area at that time lacked facilitiestransportation, and services, Baron tried to attract people to his new suburb, after building his palace, so he considered building a Metro, which became later one of The landmarks of this district, the palace was designed by the French architect Alexandre Marcel, and decorated by Georges-Louis Claude, it was built in an uncommon Indian style in Egypt, in addition the palace was designed in such a way that the sun never sets in its rooms, and lobbies.

Why did  he build his palace in the Indian style?

When the Baron was in India, he suffered from a severe illness that almost killed him, without the help, and care of the Indians for him, he would have died, so he decided to build this palace in the Indian style out of gratitude to them, and their efforts with him in treating him, in addition to that, the Baron wanted his palace to be different,  and its design is strange from the rest of Cairo's buildings, to be the first building to be built in the style of Hindu temples not only in Egypt, but in the Middle East.

Interior of (Qasr Al Baron) 

  • The palace from the inside is small, it does not exceed two floors, and contains only 7 rooms, the first floor consists of a large hall, and three rooms, 2 of which are for hospitality, and the third room was used by Baron Empain as a billiard hall, while the upper floor consists of 4 bedrooms, and each room has an attached bathroom, the palace floor is covered with Italian marble, and parquet floor, as for the basement, it contained kitchensgarages, and service rooms, large tower was built on the left side of the palace, and it consists of 4 floors linked by a spiral staircase.

Antique clock 

Inside Baron Empain Palace, there is a unique antique clock, unparalleled except in the Royal Buckingham Palace in London, It shows the time in minutes, hours, days, months and years with an explanation of the changes of the moon's faces and temperatures, note that the palace is now empty of any furniture, as the heirs of the Baron sold all the furniture at an international auction.

<<< To be CONTINUED  part 2 >>>


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Asmaa Ahmed

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