Friday, June 20, 2008

Palatial museum for Assiut

Al-Ahram

The exquisite, early 20th-century residential palace of Alexan Pasha will soon be converted into the Assiut National Museum, Nevine El-Aref reports.

The Alexan Pasha Palace stands on the Nile Corniche in Assiut, its faded decorative fa├žades waiting for restoration. With a budget of LE18,181,000, the palace is now on Egypt's antiquities list almost a century after its construction.

Alexan Pasha built his splendid palace on the bank of the Nile in 1910, creating a garden on just a feddan around his new residence in Upper Egypt. The palace originally had three floors; the first two for Alexan's family and the top floor for the servants. The first floor has two large rooms; the eastern one being the reception hall, furnished with a number of salons in different colours, decorative motifs and styles and with European oil paintings hanging on the walls and a number of showcases filled with small European-style antiques. The second hall at the western end of the house was used as the dining room, and holds three sets of tables and chairs and three cupboards laden with silver pieces. The room was connected to a fully-equipped kitchen, and next to it an office, a bathroom and two bedrooms complete with beds and cupboards. The dining room also has an adjoining reception area and a billiard room. The second floor has a number of bed and drawing rooms.

In 1995, owing to the exquisite and unique architectural features of the house, the Ministry of Culture and the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) put the palace on Egypt's antiquities list, but the lack of money delayed all work on restoring the palace until 2004.


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