After 15 years of closing its doors, Princess Aisha Fahmy’s palace is finally opened Wednesday night after renovations. Minister of Culture Helmy El-Namnam opened the gates of the mansion, which is dubbed Mogamaa Al-Fonoon (Arts Complex), for the public to witness its restoration.
For Zamalek’s loyal attendees, it wouldn’t be too hard to miss the mesmerising Nile-view mansion, located in one of the main streets of the elite neighbourhood. Aisha Fahmy’s palace is one of the masterpieces that dates to King Farouk’s era. The timeworn palace holds among its walls the glory of Egypt’s royal elegance, mixed with cheerful, bright colours that women passionately apply to their houses.
The renovation process has been going on for years now, and in its last stage, it was under the direct supervision of the Culture Development Fund. “The restoration process included turning the basement into one huge hall for exhibiting art pieces. The hall is 1,000 square metres in size, and it can host hundreds of art pieces,” said Ali El-Halawany, the Ministry of Culture’s media officer.
The renewal process also encompassed the mansion’s silk portraits, which are rare, and most of them are in the palace. Built over 2,700 square metres, the dwelling includes 30 rooms, of which one is the Japanese room. This room is decorated with Japanese letters written in golden silk with rare Buddha statues.
Built in 1907 by the design of Italian architect Antonio Lasciac for Princess Aisha Fahmy, whose father was the head of the army during the reign of King Fouad I, the mansion is considered one of that era’s masterpieces.
After her death, the mansion was owned by the Ministry of Culture in 1958 to be used as the minister’s office.
The opening also witnessed an exhibition titled “From the treasures of our museums” in the basement hall of the mansion. “The exhibition is a festival organised by all Egyptian museums, by contributing their art belongings for both international and Egyptian fine artists,” said Khaled Soror, head of the Fine Arts sector.