The Manesterly Palace, Egypt
The Manesterly Palace, with it’s many rooms, painted foliage decorating the ceilings, curvy light décor and embellished golden frames, all in Rococo (Late Boroque) style, stands as a testament of political change
and celebration of powerful arts.
Today, it is once again open for visitors for the first time after a year of renovations.
Hassan Fouad Pasha El-Manesterly, the minister of interior at the time, built the residential palace in 1851 on Al-Roda Island (aka Manial Island) on the Nile bank.
Egypt’s 1952 revolution, however, saw the palace seized by the government and registered as public property. In 1954 it was put on Egypt’s antiquities list.
Diverse concerts were performed in the palace as it was converted into a musical centre. In 2002 a museum dedicated to the late, legendary Egyptian singer Om Kalthoum was established inside the palace to add to its prestige.
Mohsen Sayed, head of the Islamic and Coptic antiquities section at the MSA, said that several meeting were held at the palace during the reign of King Farouk. Among the most significant is the meeting of King Farouk with different Arabs leaders and rulers in 1947 after World War II to discuss the establishment of the Arab League.
The palace, he continued, became a permanent facility for the Arab League.
Notably, it also has a Nilometer outside, which measured the all-important flooding of the Nile. The Nile is what made Egypt exist as a strong civilisation. Ancient Egyptians depended on the yearly flooding of the Nile, and even up until this century, before the Aswan dam was built to regularise the water flow and agriculture.
The palace had been subject to several rounds of restorative works. The Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) shut it down a year ago for restoration.
Mohamed El-Sheikha head of the projects section at the MSA describes that the restorations were carried out in four phases: cracks were filled, walls consolidated and the ceilings were injected with insulation to prevent leaks from rain in the future and humidity. Broken tiles in the garden path were restored and very damaged ones have been replaced with new similar tiles.
After it’s facelift, it is now ready to welcome visitors back to its splendid rooms, halls and gardens.