Posts Tagged With: palace

Montazah Palace and Gardens: when old meets new

Montazah in Alexandria, is distinguished from other tourist sites in Egypt in that it is a place where the past and present intermingle. For the history buff it is a pleasure to roam around the vast estate where, before the July 23 Revolution, the royal family had their summer quarters and where the palace and the Salamlek (annex) can be seen. For those in search of the beautiful beaches, Montazah has facilities for rest and recreation. It has, in addition, magnificent gardens with royal palms that date, most appropriately, from the royal era.

Image

Palm trees in Montazah Gardens

Image

Montazah beaches

The site, situated west of Alexandria, was developed over a century ago, in 1892, in the time of Khedive Abbas Helmi II, who built the Salamlek, which today faces the Palestine Hotel.  The summer residence of the royal family is situated on an elevated mound overlooking a beautiful bay and beach, and the vast garden covers an area of 370 feddans.

Image

Montazah Palace, overlooking royal gardens

Image

Salamlek, built by Khedive Helmi II

When king Fouad came to the throne he built a bridge to join the palace to the Island of Dreams, which sounds somewhat romantic but was, in fact, a fairy-tale site covering about 13 feddans and with exotic plants, Byzantine style status and aquaria adorning various parts of the undulating land. There is also a delightful “kiosk” where the king and his friends used to enjoy their afternoon tea.

Image

Famous bridge of Montazah

Later still, when king Farouk acceded to the throne, he built the famous clock of Montazah; whenever the clock strikes, a soldier appears from each of its four sides.

After the July 23 Revolution, Montazah was opened to the public, and visitors were permitted to enter various parts including the island, the bridge, the kiosk and the gardens. The Salamlek and the palace are not open for visiting.

About two million visitors visit Montazah every year. It is open all the year round and operates 24 hours a day and caters for all visitors requirements. It has various shops, restaurants, coffee shops and bazaars to cater for the visitors.

Image

Palestine Hotel, overlooking the Mediterranean

Not to be missed is the plant nursery and greenhouse: many tourist groups come to Montazah for the sole purpose of visiting them. The greenhouse has exotic plants that have thrived from the rule of King Fouad. It supplies all the plants needed in the gardens, and there is a surplus for sale.

Summer is here, the beaches are packed with holiday makers and Montazah is enjoying a bumper season. 

Advertisements
Categories: Alexandria, Egypt, Mediterranean Cities, Palaces, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrate Ramadan Sheraton Montazah Style

In preparations for the holy month of Ramadan, Sheraton Montazah Hotel in Alexandria started decorating Layalina Café, Beach Café and La Terrace Café with magnificent and oriental themes and ambiance that match the spirit of the holy month.

Image

Sheraton Montazah Hotel overlooking the Mediterranean and the gardens of Montazah Palace

The hotel is also planning a wide array of continental delicacies with exquisite oriental specialties for families and friends at a rich Iftar buffet including mouthwatering recipes and appetizing treats.

Image

Sumptuous Iftar buffets and Sohour menues will be available during Ramadan.

At night, guests can enjoy the Sheraton Montazah Ramadan celebrations at the Layalina, La Terrace and the Beach Cafés where they can enjoy a bunch of entertaining programs, shisha, oriental drinks and sohour amidst cozy atmosphere and breezy air.

Categories: Alexandria, Egypt, Hotels, Mediterranean Cities, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cairo tours for kids

Cairo is a haven for cultural tours for children. If you want to arrange a trip for your children in Cairo, forget about parks, cinemas, circuses and seaside resorts and go for a tour in Medieval Cairo. It is much more fun, especially, if it is accompanied by a photo contest.

All photos here are taken by the children, except for two, I took them myself

The kids in front of Al Sultan Hassan Mosque

The kids in front of Al Sultan Hassan Mosque

It was 8am when we all gathered, both kids and their long-suffering mothers, at the Wonderland Mall in Nasr City. Our purpose? To take the rented tour bus to a series of destinations planned for the day. We were all on time. The bus driver turns out to be punctual, too, and by 8.30 we are off — to the mosques of Al-Refaai and Sultan Hassan near the Salaheddin Citadel, the Gayer Anderson Museum annexed to Ibn Tulun Mosque, and the Abdine Palace in, well, Abdine.

The children are excited about the programme; they’ve started to ask questions about the places we are going to. Assuming the role of tour guide, I’m doing my best to give the simplest possible answers. This is not my first experience of the situation, after all. It’s largely due to the success of last year’s trip to the Citadel, the Egyptian Museum and the Pyramids of Giza that we’re doing it again. And it’s not just about entertainment. This group of mothers share the belief that such a trip is as important for their children as school curricula — and less trying.

It all started when my son, Adham, turned eight; in the course of a casual conversation it dawned on me how little he knows of Egyptian history: in the winter he does his school work; in the summer he plays by the sea. Ah well, I thought, remembering my own history with dread. Forget the last 17 years of my life, during which I’ve been a professional travel writer. The first time I set foot in the Egyptian Museum I was, erm, 21 years old. Nor did I even see Khan Al-Khalili until my first year as a travel writer: the foreigner who accompanied me, then, knew so much more than I did it was terribly embarrassing. Never! I cried inwardly, looking into Adham’s eyes. And so I started an Egypt-wide plan covering Pharaonic, Coptic, Islamic and modern. Initial exploratory experiments revealed that, individually or in small numbers, children have the tendency to get bored. The answer? Take the whole class, preferably with parents, and visit more than one place and period at a time.

Al Refai and Sultan Hassan

The mothers of Adham’s classmates proved universally enthusiastic — and helpful. A task list was quickly drawn up and divided among us: planning the route, renting the bus and preparing an info sheet was my responsibility. Sherine compiled material about the architecture; Noha took on the formidable task of coordination, not only of times and venues but costs.

liv03

The itinerary was tailored to the children, with the idea of maximum absorption as our guiding principle: at the Citadel, for example, the Mohamed Ali Mosque would serve as an introduction to Islamic architecture while offering stimulating surroundings and plenty of space, while at the Egyptian Museum we headed straight for the King Tut’s glittering mask. Following the Pyramids, Andrea’s overlooking the nearby Marioutiya Canal matched the mood with its authentic — and very tasty — Egyptian cuisine.

Inside Al Refaee mosque

Inside Al Refaee mosque

El Refai-kids

Lessons learned included making the next trip shorter — and, on the present occasion, I chose sites closer together. I concentrated on Islamic monuments and royal history: aside from the excitement of Al-Refaai’s interior, we visited the tombs of the Egyptian royal family and the shah of Iran. Then we moved on to the mosque in the Madrassa Mosque of Sultan Hassan — one of the biggest domes in the world. And only 15- minute drive brought us to Beit Al-Kiritliya: Gayer Anderson Museum, perhaps the truest model of a middle-class Cairene family home in Mameluke times, later acquired by the British officer-collector whose name it now bears. At the Abdine Palace we saw not only royal possessions but gifts given to President Hosni Mubarak by heads of state. The tour came to an end at the famous Felfela’s, not far from Abdine. Here too the food was rich, varied and in the spirit of that day.

Gayer Anderson- Kids 5

Gayer Anderson Museum-kids 2

Gayer Anderson- Kids 4

Gayer Anderson Museum- kids 3

This time we managed to make the trip even more interactive by organising a photo contest, choosing the best three from the whole day. Those who didn’t have a camera used their mothers’ mobile phones; and it was clickety- click all along. Most, in fact, took excellent photos. It was next to impossible to choose three, so we decided to enlarge and display them at their School. Alongside the photos were the kids’ impressions.

My son Murad, riding a donkey, at Andrea restaurant

My son Murad, riding a donkey, at Andrea restaurant

Categories: Cairo, Egypt, Giza, Islamic Egypt, Pharaonic Egypt, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: