Sultana King’s Palace in Cairo begins a new history

The Heliopolis area in Cairo, specifically in front of the famous Baron Palace, includes one of the most important and beautiful historical palaces in Egypt, Sultana Malak Palace, dating from the early twentieth century and recently restored and opened as a center for digital creativity and entrepreneurship in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications.

The palace was known by the name of its owner Prince Hussein Kamel, then it was called the Sultan’s Palace, the king of his wife, who lived in it, and sometimes it is called the Sultan’s Palace in relation to the name of the street next to it . Heliopolis, northeast of Cairo, between 1906 and 1907.

The palace is built on a large plot of land opposite the Baron Empain Palace, and it is in the shape of a triangle bounded by three main streets: the first is Al-Thawra Street (formerly Sultan Hussein), the second is General Baron Street, and finally Al-Orouba Street, which in the past was called Al-Qusour Street, referring to the important palaces built on both sides of it, namely the palaces of Prince Hussein Kamel, Boghos Nubar, Prince Ibrahim Halim, and finally the Palace of Baron Empan, then it was called King Fouad Street. The main entrance to the palace faces the Baron Palace, and the back faces the Sultan Hussein Mosque.

Sultana Malak’s palace was registered as an antiquity by cabinet decree in 2000, and restoration work began in 2019 and ended in 2022, under the supervision of the Ministries of Tourism and Antiquities and Communications and Information Technology, and it was opened as a center for digital creativity and entrepreneurship.

Who is Sultana King?

Basma Selim, a researcher into the heritage of Heliopolis, says that Sultana Malak “was the daughter of Hassan Pasha Turan, the captain in the Ottoman navy, who offered her for adoption when she was no more than three years old in order to give her a better future. She was adopted by Jeshem Aft, the third wife of Khedive Ismail, and her name was changed from Malak Hassan Turan to Malak Jesham Aft, a name that was associated with her throughout her life. On 26 December 1886, Malak, the seventeenth girl, married to Prince Hussein Kamel, and after twenty-eight years, specifically on December 19, 1914, Hussein Kamel took the reins of power in Egypt.

Basma adds, “The Sultan’s Palace is considered one of the most important historical palaces in Egypt due to the fact that it belonged to the first sultan in the modern history of Egypt, and its connection with the transformations of Egyptian politics during the second decade of the twentieth century. The country during the First World War, the years that prepared for the outbreak of the 1919 revolution.

Sultana II

It was not common in Egypt for a woman to acquire the title of Sultana, as it is a rare event that only two women have achieved in the country’s history. Basma says, “After Hussein Kamel sat on the throne of Egypt, he was granted the title of Sultan by the British, and his wife was named King of the Sultanate of Egypt, becoming the second wife. She has this title after Shajar al-Durr acquired, and after the death of Sultan Hussein Kamel on October 4, 1917, King Fouad took power, and on October 11, 1917 (that is, only two days after he assumed the throne) issued a description which allow a (king) to maintain her sultan title, and on January 2, 1932, Fuad issued a royal decree that the Sultanate should take precedence over her Majesty Queen Nazli, and over all the princesses of the ruling family.

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She adds, “After the death of Sultan Hussein Kamel, Sultana Malak did not withdraw from public life, but instead attended official events and parties, such as the wedding of King Farouk in 1938, and Western newspapers referred to her as the widow Sultana, as she never married a king after Sultan Hussein Kamel, and she spent about four decades of her life traveling to Europe, Lebanon and Luxor, and her title remained the Sultana even after the coronation of King Farouk I , until she died on the fourth Sunday of February 1956, and her body was buried in the Rifai Mosque in Cairo next to the grave of her husband, Sultan Hussein.

Before and after the July Revolution

Major events and changes that Egypt saw during the twentieth century, including the transformation of Egypt from a monarchy to a republic. On the status of the palace during these stages, Basma says: “The engineering drawings of the palace were designed by the French architect Alexandre Marcel, and he wrote on them in French (Prince Hussein Kamel Palace), where the palace was established before he took over the Sultanate, and he bought it in installments from the company that created it, and when he died he was unable to His wife, the Sultana, refused to pay the remaining installments, especially after the financial crisis in 1931, so the palace returned to the company, and it was agreed that it would be rented to the Sultana for 100 pounds per month, which was paid by the government.

The researcher added: “After the July Revolution of 1952, Aisha Ismail, who lived with the Sultana for almost 18 years, says that a king called Gamal Abdel Nasser and told him that she was not in the first place was not of the royal family and told him her story, so he reassured her and promised her that she would live in the palace without harming it for long. After her death in the fifties of the last century, the ownership of the lands and immovable property later transferred to the state. Indeed, the palace’s contents, including antiquities, etc., were sold at public auction, and it became a school after nationalization (Heliopolis Secondary School for Girls), when moved The school later turned into an adjacent building whose courtyard connected to the palace grounds and its garden, after which the building was turned into a neglected monument before its restoration finally proceeded.

Architectural style

Basma says, “The palace was designed by the French architect Alexandre Marcel (1860 – 1928), who studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Paris, and has a number of designs for buildings, the most famous of which is the cinema (Pagoda). ) on Babylon Street in Paris in 1896, and in Egypt he designed the Basilica Church and the Sultan’s Palace. King and Palace of Boghos Nubar, and he also participated in the design of the Heliopolis Palace Hotel with the Belgian engineer Ernest Gaspard, which is now the Federal Palace Mamluk mosques, muqarnas, mashrabiyas, necklaces and other Islamic symbols.

And she added: “As for the interior design, Marcel and the interior designer followed the method of mixing Islamic and European elements, as the Islamic style appeared in the main hall, while the European style prevailed in most of the rooms and inner halls has. , especially in the works of murals on walls, ceilings and on the thresholds of doors and windows. The palace consists of a basement and two floors, surrounded by an iron fence. The basement includes the kitchen and food stores. The first floor consists of a number of rooms for reception and the second for sleeping and living suites.

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