Palaces – I love Palaces!  If you grew up listening to Cinderella, Snow White and graduated to historical novels as I did, then Palaces conjure up romance, mystery and images of the good life for you too.

I waited and waited for Abdeen Palace to re-open.  I went there about 5 times over the years but each time it was closed.  When I finally got in, I was not disappointed – I was in love!  It’s a museum but it has a completely different effect on me than normal museums do.  Perhaps because I am so interested not only in Pharaonic Egypt but also Medieval Cairo, the Mamluks, Mohamed Ali Dynasty and Egypt’s 19 and 20th century Royal Family.  I probably know more about Egyptian history than I do Irish history!

Abdeen Palaces houses most (if not all) the gifts given to Kings, Queens and Presidents of Egypt by foreign countries.  So sad there is no gift there (so far) from Ireland.  I expected (at the very least) to see a piece of Waterford Crystal or Beleek Pottery.  All that glitters in the collection is actually gold!  Solid gold, diamonds, rubies and all kinds of precious stones.

The marvelous and unique items bought at auctions and collected by King Farouk in themselves are worth a visit – the jewellery box that can kill, Mussolini’s personal hand gun, the huge array of weaponry, paintings and personal items of various rulers of Egypt fascinate me.  Abdeen Palace like the Islamic Museum of Art requires a guide to show one around to get the best out of it.  I hope they open up more of the museum’s treasures to the public in the years to come – I would really like to see their clothing collections.


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