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At the southern tip of Roda Island stands Manial Palace, an exquisite example of early 20th century architecture.

Built in 1901 by Prince Mohamed Ali, the son of Khedive Tawfiq, was an attempt to revive the Islamic architectural style in opposition to the European style commonly adopted for the royal family's palaces.

Some 50 laborers, archaeologists and cultivation experts are hard at work to meet the deadline. The official reopening is in mid-February after ten years of restoration.

In 2005, the Ministry of Antiquities started the restoration on the palace, which includes the removal of encroachments made on the palace gardens in the early 1960s by the Egyptian General Organization for Tourism and Hotels (EGOTH) which transformed the palace garden into a hotel.

It also includes the consolidation and re-erection of the gypsum false ceiling, constructed in 1945 to reduce the weight of the large copper chandelier on the original ceiling of the throne hall. This ceiling collapsed in 2004.

 rRestorative work to all decorative elements at the palace has been executed as well as the development of the palace's galleries, laboratories and garden. 

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty commenced an inspection around the palace to check  the work executed and resolve any issues that could stand against the palace official opening.

During the tour, Eldamaty commented that the palace regained its original look and it would be open in mid-February which coincides with the centennial of Khedive Abbas Helmy II's departure from the throne of Egypt.

During the opening ceremony, said Eldamaty, a lecture is scheduled about Khedive Abbas Helmy II in an attempt to honor his efforts to develop Egypt. Throughout  his reign, he ordered the construction of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria and the Museum of Islamic Arts in Babul Khalq in downtown Cairo.

Manial Palace is a huge palace with a rare botanical garden, exquisite halls and several detached buildings, all bearing a blend of Fatimid and Mameluke styles tinged with Ottoman elements, and drawing also on Persian, Andalusian, Syrian, and Moroccan taste.

 (Source: Ahram Online)




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