As we already learned on our Cairo voyage, the city has so many ambiguous secrets. One of the hidden enigmas is the mystical Baron Empain Palace, which has been there for more than 100 years. Also known as the Hindu Palace, this architectural masterpiece is located in the elite Heliopolis.
The urban legends behind Baron Empain Palace
Proudly standing between the other building in Cairo’s Heliopolis district, the palace has had a notorious reputation for years. The deteriorated arches rich with Hindi details have been bearing urban legends for years. Once a source of paranormal mysteries and creepy stories has now been turned into a museum, open for visitors who wish to seize the gorgeous architecture.
The Baron’s luxurious retreat
The astonishing palace is named after the owner, a reputable Belgian businessman with a “baron” title. As a well-known industrialist and entrepreneur, one of the significant projects in his professional life was the construction of the Paris metro.
Both the interior and exterior of the Baron Empain Palace reflect the family’s high status but also mark an important milestone in Heliopolis history. The palace was built in 1911, marking the beginnings of a new high-end Cairo neighborhood. Thanks to Baron’s efforts, what used to be a desert area has become an elite Cairo district.
Although the Hindy style isn’t typical for this area, it has become a significant landmark for Cairo. The Baron was a reputable entrepreneur, so he traveled a lot during his life. His journeys allowed him to witness exotic architectural styles and get the inspiration for building a distinctive mansion. The Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Hindu temples of Orissa in India were abundant sources of inspiration. The final solution was put to paper by a reputable architect known for his unique style.
The remarkable Indian-style building is a masterpiece carefully designed by the architect Alexandre Marcel, born in Belgium. Famous for his signature architectural style, he incorporates Belle Époque into exotic styles. Georges-Louis Claude decorated the rich and ornate exterior, drawing inspiration from Hindu temples.
Unique architectural features
The magnificent two-story palace was constructed from reinforced concrete while grabbing inspiration from Hindu temples. Moreover, this is one of the first projects that use this material in such a creative way. Surprisingly, the structure has a rotating base to receive plenty of sunlight during any time of the day. The tall tower is next to an open roof, a perfect place for hosting elite gatherings.
Impressive adorned exterior
As we admired the ornate exterior, we noticed remarkable statues of Buddhist and Hindu legends. As every single detail fascinated our eyes, we couldn’t miss seeing the abundance of elephant details. The exterior is repainted in a rich rusty orange tone that blends with the Egyptian landscape, as stated in this mansion’s original documentation.
Restoration of the Baron Empain Palace
The family sold the Baron Empain Palace in an auction. The unfortunate circumstances left the palace neglected for years, which resulted in awful deterioration. This imposed the need for an extensive restoration project, which totals $11 million. After serving as background for horror movie sets and a few social events, the Baron Empain Palace finally saw the light of the day in 2017 when the restoration process began. The superstitions and paranormal stories finally stopped as the Baron Empain Palace opened its doors to the public in 2020.
The lengthy preparation process included exterior repainting and renewing the luxurious gardens to bring back their old shine. On the inside, they did a significant interior restoration, such as repairing the crumbled walls and the deteriorated ceiling slabs.
This landmark found its way back to the tourist maps and is an exotic spot to stop by. Whether you want to explore the interior, admire the ornate details, or learn more about the history, the Baron Empain Palace offers a unique experience for architecture lovers.