Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el Damati announced starting preparations for a project to renovate the historic Baron Empain Palace in eastern Cairo.
The ministry will organize a contest for architects to offer their ideas and proposals for the palace’s renovation, Damati said.
Misr Consult, an engineering consulting office, will carry out the project’s consultancy studies voluntarily. The renovation is expected to start in April 2016 when the studies are completed, the minister said.
The palace was built towards the end of the nineteenth century by Belgian millionaire industrialist, amateur Egyptologist and founder of Heliopolis Edouard Louis Joseph, Baron Empain. It was designed by French architect Alexandre Marcel, and decorated by Georges-Louis Claude.
Empain came to Egypt in 1904 with his company, in hopes of building a railway linking Mansoura to Matariya. Although his company ultimately lost the railway contract, Empain nevertheless stayed on in Egypt. In 1906, he established the Cairo Electric Railway and Heliopolis Oasis Company, and soon after began construction of the new town of Heliopolis – now one of Cairo's most elegant suburbs.
The palace’s main tower - in which Empain had his rooms - is said to have been built on a revolving base to allow a 360-degree view and constant sunlight.