The Abdeen Palace Museum is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Cairo and provides visitors with insight into Egypt’s more recent monarchy and its role in shaping the country of today. Often overlooked by tourists eager to explore the more famous ancient treasures of the pharaohs, the museum provides visitors with insight into the country’s history. This lavishly decorated palace, which was constructed in 1863 by an ensemble of Egyptian, Italian, French, and Turkish architects, served as the seat of government for Khedive Isma’il Pasha in 1872 and remained the center of power throughout the country until the 1952 Egyptian revolution.
Visitors are led into rooms and alcoves of the central building that are ornately decorated with paintings and clocks, some of which are made of solid gold, through a well-kept garden flanked by cannons from the 18th and 19th centuries. The lower floors of the palace have been converted into a museum with five main galleries, despite the fact that the upper floors are still used to accommodate foreign dignitaries visiting Egypt.
Armor from the eighteenth century can be found in the first gallery. Some of these weapons were given to the Egyptian Khedives as gifts and others were used in combat. The awards and offerings that were given as official gifts to the Egyptian government can be found in the second section. The history of Egypt’s current royal family is commemorated in another gallery, which features a vast silver collection. In 2005, a fifth section was added to house significant historical records.
The Abdeen Palace Museum is an especially important part of Cairo’s history because it shows us Egypt’s “modern” (in the grand scheme of things) history, something that most other museums in Cairo and Giza don’t. This museum provides a glimpse into a world of artifacts that very few ever get to see, despite it all being right under their noses in the heart of central Cairo, for those interested in the place that modern Egypt occupies in the world.