Prince Muhammad Ali’s mansion in Manial, or El-Manial Palace, is one of the royal palaces in Egypt that has a unique architectural character. The construction of the palace began in 1901, and is located on the island of Manial El-Rawda in Cairo.
The hope of taking the throne was Just around the corner, but yet he never got it.
Prince Muhammad Ali, the second son of Khedive Tawfiq, and the brother of Khedive Abbas Helmi II built the mansion to make the whole world see that he deserved to take the throne.
Prince Muhammad Ali chose the land for the palace himself, and initially set up the residential palace and then completed the rest of the palaces. The prince oversaw the design and engineering, and supervision of the building, while its was implemented by the teacher Mohammed Afifi, and recommended that the prince designate the palace, after his death, as a museum.
The mansion is a unique architectural masterpiece that includes various Islamic art styles between Fatimid, Mamluk, Ottoman, Andalusian, Persian, and Levantine. The mansion includes three palaces: the residence palace, reception, throne, mosque, private museum, hunting museum, and clock tower. The mansion’s fences were built in the style of medieval fortresses, surrounded by gardens with a rare collection of trees and plants, and the palace is now used as a museum.
The reception palace consists of two floors. The first includes a protocol room to receive important figures, senior state officials, and ambassadors. The second floor has two large rooms, one of which was designed in the Moroccan style, with its walls covered with mirrors and ceramic tiles. The other hall was designed in the Levantine style; the walls were covered with wood carvings, colourful geometric, and floral motifs, alongside verses from the Qur’an and poetry passages.
The residential palace is the main palace and the first of the buildings to be constructed, and was the residence of the prince and consists of two floors, including a ladder made of fine wood. The first floor includes a fountain, harem room, mirror room, blue saloon room, seashell room, dining room, fire room, office, and the prince’s library.
The throne palace, is where Prince Muhammad Ali would receive his guests in its hall, on occasions such as holidays, to make them believe that he had the right to take the throne.
This palace consists of two floors. The first floor it is called the throne hall, which is a large hall with a wooden crew of gilded sofas and chairs. It has large pictures of past rulers of Egypt from his namesake Muhammad Ali Pasha’s dynasty, alongside pictures of landscapes from Cairo and Giza.
The upper floor is comprised of two rooms for the winter season, and a rare room dedicated to the possessions of Hamami Pasha, the grandfather of Prince Muhammad Ali, his mother’s father. It is called the aubusson chamber because all its walls are covered with French aubusson tapestries.
The clock tower was constructed in the style of Andalusian and Moroccan towers, which were used for monitoring and sending messages by fire at night and smoke during the day and a large clock, showing different scorpions and characterised by its hands in the form of snakes
The private museum is located on the south side of the palace and it consists of 15 halls, with a courtyard and a small garden. It displays rare collections of Arabic carpets and manuscripts, and oil paintings of some of the Muhammad Ali dynasty beside landscape paintings, metal artefacts, writing tools, clothing, tablecloths, furniture, and candlesticks.
Prince Muhammad Ali held the title of crown prince three times; the first time was in the era of his brother Khedive Abbas Helmy II until the birth of his son Prince Muhammad Abdel Moneim.
After the abdication of Abbas Helmy II, the British authorities asked Prince Muhammad to leave Egypt and reside abroad, until Sultan Ahmed Fuad I agreed to his return to Egypt, after which he was appointed crown prince for the second time until the birth of the sultan’s son, Prince Farouk. He was then chosen as one of the three regents of the throne between the death of King Ahmed Fuad I and his son King Farouk taking his constitutional powers upon reaching the appropriate age. He was appointed crown prince for the third and last time under King Farouk until the birth of the king’s son, the Prince Ahmed Fuad II.