Egypt: Footage shows historic Baron Empain Palace as restoration works near completion

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Footage filmed on Sunday shows the ongoing restoration works of the Baron Empain Palace in the Egyptian suburb of Heliopolis near Cairo.

The Arab Contractors Company, commissioned by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the Engineering Corps of the Armed Forces, began the restoration of the palace in 2017.

According to the Ministry of Antiquities, the restoration works are nearing their completion. About 90 percent of the renovation has reportedly been completed, including the structural consolidation of the roofs and the restoration of the facades’ decorative elements.

The project reportedly cost 100 million Egyptian pounds. The palace is expected to be open to the public in November 2019.

The Baron Empain Palace was built by Belgian industrialist Baron Edouard Empain in 1911. The palace is considered to be an architectural masterpiece, which features Hindu motifs.

Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, noted the distinctive Indian-inspired architecture of the palace, which he said is “quite evident in the palace’s exterior and interior.”

Waziri also denied reports about the changing of the character of the palace during the ongoing restoration works, noting that his team was able to bring back the “original colour” of the building, which he said “was obliterated by a layer of dirt.”

Basma Selim, who leads the restoration works at the palace, also spoke about reports of the so-called ‘satanic’ rituals held in the previously deserted building. She said, “1997, 1998 saw the phenomenon of ‘Satanists’ here, who practiced their rituals inside the palace and left behind traces everywhere. They wrote in black and drew skulls and swastika.”

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