Independent Design Magazine

Royal Zamalek: “Aisha Fahmy” The Palac...

Royal Zamalek: “Aisha Fahmy” The Palace of Love, Hate & Treachery

Aisha Fahmy Palace sketch by michael safwat

A few steps from El Gezirah palace and just after turning around you’ll see the beautiful reddish-brown classic Aisha Fahmy palace. With its white ornaments, motifs, and architectural elements that are simple yet elegant.

An Art Piece

The palace has caught the eyes of art lovers all over Egypt, not only for the amazing art pieces and exhibitions that are held inside but also for the architectural beauty of the palace itself. What most of us do not know that there are much more stories behind the palace than these of art, they are stories of love, hate, and treachery.

Aisha Fahmy Palace
Aisha Fahmy Palace. Photo Courtesy: Michael Safwat

It Begins With a Father

The origin of the palace itself is a matter of dispute. According to ““, The palace was built in 1907, designed by the famous Italian architect Antonio Lasciac in the beautifully Neo-Renaissance style with a few Baroque touches. It was the residence of Ali Pasha Fahmy, the head of the army during King Fouad’s reign. But the “Zamalek Island: Value and Heritage” booklet by N.O.U.H. states that his son “Prince Ali Fahmy” is the one who built the palace for himself and his wife.

The sure thing we know is that Fahmy Pasha had four daughters and wanted a son so badly, and finally, he had one, “Prince Ali Fahmy” -having the same name as his father-, and he was his father’s favorite.

The Tragedy of The Young Prince

According to the TV Program “Bab El-Khalq”, Fahmy Bek died when Prince Ali was still a teenager. So the young prince inherited most of the fortune of his father and lived an extravagant carefree life.

In his early twenties, Prince Ali met a French beauty named Margaret Miller, who was about 10 years older than him. He fell in love with her only to be married soon after. They lived in the palace but, their life was full of conflicts. Till one day, a terrible incident happened. When they were staying at a Hotel in London, Margaret shot prince Ali dead with four gunshots. The crime troubled the public in both Egypt and the UK. But the British court declared her not guilty thanks to her skillful lawyer who turned the case into “The East” Vs. “The West” case!

When she returned to Egypt to reclaim her inheritance, the Egyptian court denied her share. Thus, because he had no children his fortune moved to his sisters, and one of them was “Aisha Fahmy”.

It Ends With The Daughter

Aisha Fahmy Palace sketch by Michael Safwat. Photo Courtesy: Linesmag & Michael Safwat
Aisha Fahmy Palace sketch by Michael Safwat. Photo Courtesy: Linesmag & Michael Safwat

“Aisha” bought her sisters’ share of the palace and lived in it for the rest of her life. She married two of the most important artists of that time. First the renowned Egyptian director and actor “Youssef Wahby”. Then she married the famous Egyptian comedian artist “Shokoko”, afterward they got divorced. Aisha lived in the palace till she died in the late ’60s.

The Art Complex

The palace was given since then to the government. At first, it was going to be turned into a Presidential Palace. But instead, it came under the supervision of the ministry of culture. And after many years of renovation, the palace became “The Arts Complex”. To this day the art center showcases the rarest and most beautiful pieces of art possessed by the Egyptian ministry of culture.

That’s the story of “Aisha Fahmy” Palace.   

Royal Zamalek Campaign outreach partners:
Soma Art Gallery

Zamalek Island: Value and Heritage, a booklet by N.O.U.H.
rawi-magazine: The Perfect Murder Aisha Fahmy’s Palace
egypt.ravel: Aisha Fahmy’s mansion breathes life and art
egypttoday: Aisha Fahmy Palace, Zamalek gem to visit while in Cairo

David grew up loving all kinds of narrative arts, it made him realize that everything revolves around, and ends up being a story. During studying architecture, he discovered that it is directed by a concept, a message or an idea interpreted in a physical form, and is directly influencing the lives of its users. And David is always eager to make these architectural stories, stories worth telling.