Mohammed Ali Pasha Palace
Sunday، 15 May 2016 - 12:00 AM
The Palace of Mohammed Ali Pasha witnessed significant events in Egypt's modern history. In itself it is a rare archeological masterpiece dating back to 200 ago years and combining both the Western and Islamic styles of art.
Mohammed Ali started constructing his palace in 1223 H. where his archeological engineer Zul Fuqar Katukhda supervised the building process.
The palace was set up after new unprecedented type never known in Egypt before. The vast area of the site helped in choosing a Turkish archeological type: that of garden palaces which prevailed in Turkey on the shores of Posfor, Dardanil and Marmara Sea.
Such design counted mainly on the large-extending park surrounded with a great wall-fence with a few number of gates. Several buildings scatter within the garden, and each has its specific architectural features.
First of those buildings was the residence palace, that was annexed with some wooden constructions set for employees and guards in addition to an anchorage for Nile boats. In 1821 the "Fountain Palace" was added to the main palace and is still existent so far. Some years later another small palace was also added called the "Gabalaya (hill) palace" which still exists till now.
One of the interesting things that characterized Mohamed Ali Shubra Palace was that it witnessed the first modern lighting system. England came to know that system in 1820 by engineer M. Galaway who was soon called by Mohammed Ali to fix necessary preparations in his palace. That was considered a great qualitative change.
The palace was unique in combining the European style in decorations and the spirit of Islamic architecture planning. We find four ceilings enclosed with a large fountain standing as if it were the yard of a mosque.
But the drawings and decorations were painted in the 19th Italian and French way. The palace embraces a host of paintings of Mohammed Ali himself and his family members.
The palace has been recently set for three restoration projects:
- Constructive and architectural restoration.
- Decorative restoration.
- Harmonization of the landscape.
The restoration project was started five years ago and faced many different problems. For example, the "Fountain Palace" was likely to collapse and the marble of the fountain itself has been separated in the attempt of restoration at the beginning of the eighteenths.
Another complicated and dangerous stage was launched to repair the decorations in the fountain's ceiling. Most of those decorations and drawings were not familiar to the Egyptian repairers because they were designed according to the 19th Italian and French way. Fifteen experts in decorations and drawings were required to discover the logarithm of palace's decorations aiming at eliminating any mistaken restoration, returning them to their origins then repairing them according to said origin.