In one of our adventures in Khedivial Cairo, Paris of the East, we decided to visit the nostalgic Abdeen Palace. Lavish, lush and luxurious were our first impressions when we bought our tickets and entered this master piece. The palace’s gate works as a time machine, it’s where you’re being transformed from the 21st century to 19th century in a matter of seconds. Honestly, we’ve enjoyed exhibiting Abdeen Palace museums. So, get ready to experience royalty done right!
Location and History
Located in the Old Cairo district of Abdeen, the grand Abdeen Palace used to serve as a governmental seat. The palace was built in 1863 under the order of Khedive Ismail. It got its name after Abdeen Bay, one of the army commanders under Mohamed Ali Pasha. In 1872, Khedive Ismail moved to Abdeen Palace, leaving the castle, the old seat of Egypt’s government that was built by Salah-Aldeen Al-Ayoubi in 1171. Later, specifically after the July 23 revolution in 1952, it witnessed a dark era of neglect. However, former President Mubarak directed officials to reopen it to the public afterwards.
Zones and Map
The complex features multiple museums, including the Arms Museum, the Silver Museum, the Royal Family Museum, a Presidential Gifts Museum and a Historical Documents Museum. In addition to these museums, there also one hidden gem inside the palace and that is the shrine of Sidi Badran.
Sidi Badran Shrine
The shrine belongs to one of the pious worshippers of Allah in Islam that King Farouk renovated with the palace. It’s a beautifully decorated mausoleum that is brimming with patterns. The shrine is relatively small in scale. However, its richly ornamented design can make you stand there for a while enjoying the sight.
The Arms Museum
The first museum to be established and one of the many museums that the palace proudly possesses is the military museum. The museum’s walls tell the history of the dignified khedivial period through the exhibits they are showcasing. Brimming with nobility, the museum hosts kingly weapons, medals and orders of merit bestowed on members of Egypt’s royal family and distinguished Egyptian figures.
“Sword of Justice and Coronation” is a true masterpiece that we found in the Arms museum. To illustrate, this fine treasure is a gold and silver plated sword that seizes precious stones. King Farouk bought this sword from an auction in Europe in 1948. Now, the sword outstandingly exists alongside other valuable exhibits in the museum.
The Silver Museum
When you step in that museum, you can’t help but get stars in your eyes! It’s the place where all things are glowing in glimmer. The whole museum is in dark blue mood allowing its pieces to shine in the darkness. Your eyes will move in wonder between gilded silver plates and shimmering glass sets that belonged to Khedive Abbas Helmi II, Khedive Ismail and others. Above all, when you go there, take some time to appreciate the taste of these unparalleled pieces.
One of the pieces that captured our hearts was the gilded silver fruit plate holder statue. This intricate sculptural work weighs around 50 kg. Most importantly, it’s a skillful 19th Century Prussian creation that arrests you when you visit the Silver Museum.
Medals and Decorations Museum
The Medals and Decorations Museum is another shade of royalty found in Abdeen Complex. In other words, the museum showcases a collection of Royal Honoree medals, cordons and collars gifted to different khedives from different countries. Certainly, it is worth exploring.
Some of the most marvelous exhibits of this museum include Decoration set of Mohammed Ali Pasha (1923). To clarify, the set consists of a collar, the grand cordon and a medal of gold and silver. In addition to that, the decoration of Khedive Ismail (1926) also stands. Moreover, the collar of King Fouad I (1936) is also present among the collection. All of these compositions are splendidly standing re-telling the glorious events that they witnessed.
Historical Documents Museum
The museum displays documents including written in slanted format and signed with the royal logos. In our visit, we found a diploma of honor presidency conferred upon price Ahmed Fouad. The Mutual Relief Union in Naples give him this official diploma in appreciation of his sponsorship of Literature, Science and Arts in Egypt in 1898.
Presidential Gifts Museum
The wow-effect of Abdeen museums continues with Presidential Gifts museum. Late President Mubarak established this museum in 2005 to show the imperial gifts that he received from different countries. It’s worth mentioning that the museum still welcomes gifts until this day.
Many gifts were truly out of this world! Some of the extraordinary pieces include the gold palm tree model from Emirates gifted in 1998. Also, a very creative gift sent in 2017 from Tanzania uniquely stands in the museum. This gift was a tree carved in human shapes. It’s an unmatched artwork and definitely stunning to look at.
Hurry Up and Go
To sum up, Abdeen Palace museums are truly impressive each one in its own way. We encourage you to pay a visit to the wondrous complex and explore its boundless treasures. Head to the State Information Service of Abdeen Palace for more details. Also, check Gayer Anderson Museum to know more about hidden gems in Egypt.