Abdeen Palace was built during the reign of Khedive Ismail after he took power in Egypt in 1836. The name of the palace is attributed to Abdeen Bey, a military commander in the era of Muhammad Ali Pasha, who owned a small palace in its current location.
The journey starts at the ‘Bab’ Paris Street (Door of Paris Street), where visitors can enter the palace.
Before stepping into the palace, people will witness the giant wooden gate with its exquisite engravings and decorations, which Khedive Ismail ordered to be custom made in Paris to receive the Empress Eugenie during her visit to Egypt for the opening of the Suez Canal.
Eugenie was the wife of Emperor Napoleon III of France. She was famous for her intelligence and beauty.
After entering from the main gate into the lobby, there is a fountain with statues of the rulers of Egypt from the Muhammad Ali dynasty.
Afterwards, the Abdeen Palace Museum will be visible to visitors. The first one who started to build the museum was King Fuad I, who was keen to turn a number of the halls of the palace into museums containing the family’s possessions of weapons, ammunition, medals, and documents. King Farouk I inherited his father’s antiques and added to the museum many pieces from his own private collection, collected from European auctions mostly dating back to the 18th century.
Among the most interesting things about the museum are the pictures of the royal family that are on display, weapons they used, a theatre, and the royal garden.
The pictures are placed in the form of a map showing the sequence of the rulers of Egypt’s reigns, from Muhammad Ali to King Farouk, who was the last king of Egypt.
Then there is a display of weapons, which includes a collection of concealed weapons owned by King Farouk, in forms such as pens, handkerchiefs, and a wooden stick, which would be used if the king was subjected to a sudden betrayal or threat.
There are also very small pistols, which are lightweight, especially made for the princesses. These pistols contain poisonous needles in case any princess was exposed to betrayal, they could use them to kill any enemy. One of those pistols is the personal weapon of Queen Farida, a small silver pistol made specifically for her in Belgium.
In the weapons section, people get to see the personal dagger of Erwin Rommel, who was a German general who served as a field marshal for the Nazi German army during the second world war. His dagger is on display and engraved on it in German are the words “All for Germany.”
Additionally, there is also Benito Mussolini’s personal weapon, who was the leader of Italy and one of the founders of the Italian fascist movement.
One of the most exciting exhibits in the museum is the sword of justice and coronation, which was made for the first Tsar of Russia. In 1948, King Farouk bought it from an auction in Europe for £11,000. The sword was made in Germany in the 17th century, plated in pure silver and gold, along with being adorned with precious stones such as garnets, rubies, and emeralds.
There is also the strangest property of King Farouk, which is a magical jewellery box armed with shotguns, which King Farouk bought at an auction in France and dates back to the 17th century. Once anyone other than the king tries to open the locker without a secret code that only the king knew, four gun-like weapons would appear in the face of anyone and automatically fire bullets.
Then the visitors can sit in a royal-style movie theatre, surrounded by golden royal antiques on either side, with grand seats. In this section, the visitors will see a presentation of a documentary film on a journey through the corridors of the palace, its royal wings, and various rooms, as the palace includes 500 rooms and halls.
After ending the journey in the museum, the visitors can sit in the garden of the palace, as did the royal family of kings and queens. On the way out of the palace, people can stroll around and take photos in the palace garden, which dates back to more than 150 years. The garden has rare plants and a royal music kiosk. The garden is designed like the gardens of the famous Versailles Palace.