Ras El Tin Palace
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|Ras El Tin Palace|
The palace seen from the Mediterranean Sea, 1931
|Town or city||Alexandria|
|Design and construction|
Ras El Tin Palace (Egyptian Arabic: قصر رأس التين Qaṣr Ras El Tīn, literally, "Cape Fig Palace") is a palace on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in Alexandria, Egypt. It is one of the official residences for a serving President of Egypt. Under the Muhammad Ali Dynasty of Egypt and Sudan, it was a royal palace. Ras El Tin Palace is the oldest royal Egyptian palace still in use.
The palace has a long historical breadth across Egyptian royalty. It is one of few palaces in Egypt that witnessed the early 19th century initiation by Muhammad Ali Pasha (r. 1805-1848) of the long Muhammad Ali Dynasty. Following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, the palace was where the penultimate monarch of Egypt and Sudan, King Farouk, signed his abdication, and departed from Egypt in exile.
A number of foreign architects and engineers were commissioned by Muhammad Ali Pasha for the design and construction of the palace. Building activities began in 1834, taking eleven years to complete the original design in 1845. Complementary work and construction of additional wings continued two more years until 1847, when it was officially inaugurated.
Ras El Tin Palace has the shape of a large Italian Renaissance palace, with architectural elements and ornamentation inspired by that era. It was erected on a foundation of 17,000 square metres (4.2 acres), surrounded by elaborate gardens of 12 feddans (13 acres). Fig trees (Arabic - teen) were already on the palace site, inspiring its name Ras Al-Teen. Through the reign of successive kings the complex was used as their residence and the government headquarters during the summer season.
Various rulers made changes to the palace. It was totally reconstructed by King Fuad I in the 1920s, with modern services and redecoration making it similar to the opulent Abdeen Palace (built 1863), the larger royal complex in central Cairo. The redesign and construction was overseen by the Italian engineer Ernesto Verrucci Bey. The palace included a swimming pool with a large attached glass pavilion hall. Much of the opulent furniture during this redecoration was supplied by the Parisian ébéniste, François Linke, on a scale not seen since Versailles 200 years earlier.
After the Second World War, King Farouk had a marine pool built on the Mediterranean breakwater. The pool was linked to Ras Al-Teen with a narrow and long paved lane atop the breakwater, with a jeep used to pass through waves breaking over it. The adjacent pool house included a sitting room, bed chamber, fully equipped small kitchen, and rooms for staff and storing recreation and fishing gear.
Ras El Tin is used as a naval base and for hosting state guests and events in recent years. There is no public museum or grounds access, unlike the Montaza Palace royal gardens and museum, also in Alexandria.
References and notes
- including Yezi Bek, his assistant La Vial, and Le Veroige.
- cost = L.E$400,000
- Christopher Payne, ‘François Linke 1855-1946, The Belle Époque of French Furniture’, Antique Collector’s Club 2003, p.269
Media related to Ras El Tin Palace at Wikimedia Commons