Security to be stepped up in Mohamed Ali palace during restoration

GMT 22:46 2015 Friday ,21 August

Arab Today, arab today Security to be stepped up in Mohamed Ali palace during restoration

Mohamed Ali palace
Cairo - MENA

Security will be stepped up during restoration of Mohamed Ali Palace - which was damaged by Thursday's shuddering explosion of a Shubra el Kheima national security building, the head of the Islamic and coptic antiquities sector said.

The 400-year historic building is located 500 meters away from the blast, Mohamed Abdel-Latif said.

An engineering commission will be swiftly formed in line with directives of Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Damati to assess the damage and start restoration as soon as possible, he added.

Mamdouh Damati inspected the palace which suffered cracks in the land, walls and ceiling. Many windows were smashed.

The architectural style of the palace was unique in the way it combined several styles; the European styles were used in the interior decorations such as the paintings of Muhammad Ali and his family which showed Italian and French techniques. On the other hand, other features and patterns of the architectural planning and layouts show evidence of Islamic approaches.

Another interesting aspect that characterizes Mohamed Ali's Shubra Palace is that it witnessed the first modern electric lighting system in Egypt added to it in 1820.

The remaining buildings of the palace were known to be built of the finest materials and were richly decorated. The main building, El Haramlik, which usually refers to the more private section of a palace, was built in white marble and was noted for its extravagant decorative and furnishing style.

The palace's construction started in 1808 - the early years of Mohamed Ali's reign- and was completed in 1922; however the complex kept undergoing alternation well into the 1870s. Muhammad Ali appointed both Turkish and Armenian architects to design his palace and he requested that the construction would follow the distinctive architectural style of Garden Palaces, similar to other palaces and styles that prevailed in Turkey on the Bosphorus and the Dardanil. As for the interior chambers of the palace, designs followed a varied and mixed styles ranging from Oriental to European approaches unlike the interiors of his other palaces such as the Bijoux Palace built in 1814 or the Harem Palace, now known as the military museum, built in 1827, each of which had a distinctive, clear style.

The palace, which originally consisted of thirteen buildings, was also to be used as a guest house for foreign ambassadors and members of the royal family apart from being the residence of Muhammad Ali. Sadly, only three buildings remain today on the site; the Gabalaya Kiosk used as a separate reception area for guests; the fountain Kiosk, El Faskeyya for receptions and festivals as well as the water wheel building, El Saqya. In addition, the grounds of palace consisted of a large park reaching down to the Nile with a diverse group exotic trees and rare plants, parts of which still remain.

In 2005, the Culture Ministry restored the palace at 50 million EGP cost.

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