Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Baron's Palace

The Baron's Palace

Fables, Legends and Controversies

by Heba Fatteen Bizzari
 Editor's Note : It seems that the Baron 's Palace in Greater Cairo , after the Great Pyramid and Sphinx of Giza, is subject to other fables , legends and rumors than any other monument in Egypt. I was amazed to hear a guide, which was very serious , the old palace was built on a type of turnstile turn the whole building and its windows were always sunny. Of course , it was urban legend in Cairo, but for many years, building in Heliopolis has ignited the imagination of the local people with all kinds of fables , legends and rumors.Today, the Hindu palace Barons remains countless rumors object. From time to time, new rumors about the monument was abandoned for many years . Its haunted by bats , stray dogs , and others believe in ghosts. And while the place attracts some architects for her wealth, it also seems to have attracted teenagers for their wild parties. They enter the place on weekends , drink beer and smoke hashish . In the late 1990s , the palace was said to be filled with tattooed , devil worshiping young people holding orgies, skinning the cat and write their names in the rat blood on the walls of the palace. Of course, as old houses go, we assume that it could or could not be haunted, but the palace now has two guards who are responsible for ensuring that nothing too special happens inside.

Does it look like Egypt?
The palace was the industrial manufacturer of Belgian origin , General Baron Edouard Louis Joseph Empain (1852-1929) The prodigal son of a school teacher in the village which has become one of the greatest entrepreneurs of colonialist of Europe in the 20th century. Empain had significant business interests in Indonesia and in time became a well-known amateur Egyptologist . He arrived in Egypt in January 1904 , with the intention of saving a project abroad his Belgian company , which was the construction of a railway line connecting Port Said Matariya . This project was in conflict with British interests and he ended up losing to the Britons . Beaten in the railway department, Empain lingered in Egypt , however, instead of cutting his losses and go home . Those who knew him said then that he had fallen madly in love with the desert. Others murmured that despite a long-standing affair in Belgium , which had been blessed with two illegitimate children , he succumbed to the charms of Boghdadli Yvette , one of the finest fashionable Cairo . He then had the idea to acquire land at low cost and use it to build a residential area linked to Cairo rapid transit . He established the Heliopolis Oasis Company the following year. 
Another view of the Palais des Barons in Heliopolis , Egypt
His efforts culminated in 1907 with the construction of the new city of Heliopolis in the desert ten kilometers from the center of Cairo . It was designed as a "city of luxury and leisure " , with broad avenues with monumental panoramic outlook , equipped with all facilities and infrastructure , including water , sewer , electricity, facilities the hotel such as the Palace Hotel and Heliopolis House and leisure facilities including a golf course , racetrack and park. In addition, there was housing for rent , offered in a range of innovative design types targeting specific social classes with detached and terraced villas , apartment buildings, apartment blocks with balcony access and workers' bungalows.

Strange works in stone at the Palais des Barons
The new city has also represented the first large-scale attempt to promote what later came to be called the " modern Arabic style", known in his time as the " Moorish " . However, his own extravagant house , which was built between 1907 and 1910 , dominates the city , he chose an architectural style that was very different.To his own house, he chose a prestigious location in Heliopolis , and ordered Alexander Marcel , a French architect and a member of the prestigious French Institute , build him a Hindu palace . Some say he was supposed to be more or less a copy of the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia he had seen during his travels in the country , while others say it is modeled on the great Hindu temples of Orissa.

More strange stone Baron Palace
Empain best Indonesian artists and sculptors for its construction. They built on an artificial elevation to allow the Baron to watch the sunrise Heliopolis. The palace was striking out under the responsibility of Marcel, who played an eclectic mix of busts, statues , elephants , snakes , Buddha, Krishna and chills . The sophisticated interior was the responsibility of his French partner, Georges- Louis Claude . This team was also responsible for the construction and decoration of the Oriental Pavilion attached to the Royal Palace of Laeken in Belgium.The palace was , of course, built in a very select area . Other noble neighbors , to his left , facing Avenue Baron was the Arabesque palace , which is now the military headquarters but was originally the home of Boghos Nubar Pasha and Mary. It was Pasha who helped Baron Empain in buying 6,000 acres of empty desert to a pound each on which he built Heliopolis. Diagonally opposite resist the former residence of Sultan Hussein Kamel , who ruled Egypt between 1914 and 1917. Today, it is a presidential guest house .Since visitors are not allowed to enter the palace , little is known about its interior today. It consists of two floors with two additional floors underground . The basement contains a mausoleum of the family, a kitchen and a room of the servant. There are two elevators and even a tunnel that connects to the nearby church built by Baron .

Close the door of the palace of Baron Heliopolis , Egypt
Of course , the Baron himself was the first to occupy the palace . He received all hosts marks Egypt including King Albert and Queen Elizabeth of Belgium during the pre-war I visit Egypt. Although the decrease in number, there are those who still remember when the landscape surrounding the Hindu palace was a paradise festooned with growing green terraces each with its own set of erotic statues in marble and exotic vegetation. As guests negotiated terraces on their way to the major steps leading into the great hall of the palace, they felt as if some mythical Deus watched from inside the palace. These lyrical pleasure Baron endless .Next to occupy the palace was his playboy son , Baron Jean Empain . He received his guests, either racing or Heliopolis his balls innumerable palaces where he cut a dashing figure with his multiple wives . It was an American cabaret dancer Rozell Rowland aka Goldie who finally nailed to the altar. The "prince" and the showgirl had met in a nightclub in Cairo where she performed all painted gold. The last of the family of Baron to occupy the palace were Janine and Huguette Empain who actually preferred the salons of the fashionable Heliopolis Sporting Club or the roof garden of the former Hotel Semiramis in sepulchral halls of the palace of their great grandfather. The palace was finally sold by its owners in 1957 for two families, and Alexem Reda, who were Saudi-born .

Corner detail from Baron's Palace
Today, the spark of the place is gone. It became an architectural masterpiece that produces incredible stories and rumors, but as these stories and rumors, has no inner beauty. Finished murals Fresco massive golden doors , balustrades , floors , door handles gold , and Belgian mirrors were torn from their sockets. Now he is best known for the bats that live there, and profane the floors with their droppings.The Egyptian government may want to turn the palace into a museum in the desert, or perhaps a large pantheon of Egypt. Unfortunately, they are not the owners of the building and those who are said to have asked for 50 million U.S. dollars prize. This is much more than the annual budget of the Supreme Council of Antiquity. The owners speak to transform the palace into a casino or even a medical center Euro style . Unfortunately for the owners, their options are limited. Act 117 prohibits the sale or purchase of buildings that are considered to be antiques. So for now , it seems , the Palace of the Baron is one of those landmarks that is yet to see the light of the restoration.No doubt incredible stories will continue to leave the palace and lost fortunes. None will be more amazing than that , however, the priceless architectural treasure abandoned and crumble at the sight of all the ministers, VIP, tourism and other passenger air as they motor up the road from the airport on their way in or out of Cairo.