Thursday, September 7, 2017

Short Story: Documenting The Palace

The Palace of Prince Omar Tosson in Cairo’s Road Al-Farag district is to be documented for the first time, reports Nevine El-Aref.

In the Road Al-Farag district in Cairo stands the 19th-century Prince Omar Tosson Palace, its architecture largely hidden behind four modern school edifices.

The palace was nationalised after the 1952 Revolution like other former royal palaces and buildings in Egypt, and it was converted into a secondary school. Subsequently it was badly neglected.

The palace was originally built after 1886 and comprises a basement and two upper floors. The basement has a long corridor leading to the Nile Corniche where a yacht was once docked to transport the prince on his journeys outside Cairo.

The first floor has a main hall with several chambers to host visitors, a library, dining rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and rooms for servants. The second floor houses the private rooms of the prince’s family and a special wing for him with separate bathrooms and side rooms.

The palace has two gardens, the first outdoors and the second indoors as a small winter garden. There is a small extension building once used for storage. The ceilings of the rooms in the palace are particularly distinguished, being carved in wood and bearing gilded decorative elements.

The palace was registered on Egypt’s Heritage List of Islamic and Coptic Antiquities in 1984, but it was still badly neglected. Several restoration projects were drawn up, but none was implemented.

However, all this is in the past, as today steps towards the palace’s restoration are being taken by the Ministry of Antiquities and Cairo University’s Construction Engineering Technology Laboratory.

Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, director of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the palace project aimed to document it using the latest technology and 3D laser scanning to analyse the architectural and decorative elements of the palace as well as its environment... READ MORE.

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