The Gezirah Palace was commissioned by Khedive Ismail for entertaining visiting international dignitaries during the opening of the Suez Canal. It was sold to Paul Draneht Pasha and Commander Oblieght in 1889, and by 1906 was an elegant hotel. During the first world war it was put into service as the No.2 Australian General Hospital after Mena House was unable to cope with the huge number of casualties from Gallipoli.
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