Qubba Palace, located in the northern part of Cairo, is one of the largest palaces in Egypt.
President-elect Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi will hold his inaugural ceremony at this palace on Sunday, in the presence of heads of state from different Arab and foreign countries.
The palace was built during the rule of Khedive Ismail in the mid-19th century and is surrounded by 70 acres of lush green gardens, that include Asian trees and exotic tropical plants from all over the world.
The Qubba Palace gardens (photo: coptichistory.org)
During the reign of Khedive Tawfik the palace hosted some of the most lavish parties and royal weddings, similar to the legendary parties in the tale of One Thousand and One Nights.
One of the Salons in the Qubba Palace (photo: Al-Ahram)
When King Fuad came to power, the palace became the official royal residence. He ordered that some changes be made, and a six metre tall fence was built around the estate, and a new gate installed with an outside courtyard.
A train station exclusively for the use of the royal train was built near the palace. Visitors arrived there from Alexandria or from the central Cairo train station.
King Fuad lived in the palace until his death in 1936.
King Fuad’s successor, his son Farouk, used this palace to keep his most expensive antiques and special collections, such as rare postage stamps, jewellery and the Fabergé egg that belonged to one of the Russian Tsars.
Most of these items were sold in a public auction that was attended by representatives for Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and other collectors.
One of King Farouk’s antiques (photo: forum.egypt.com)
After the 1952 revolution, the palace became one of the three presidential palaces that were used to host foreign heads of state, diplomats, and other VIPs. The other two are the Abdeen Palace and Ras Al-Teen Palace in Alexandria.
Qubba Palace was the place where the body of former president Gamal Abdel-Nasser laid before his funeral in 1970.
The Shah of Iran, Mohamed Reza Pahlavi stayed in the palace while in exile, when he fled his country after the 1979 revolution brought an end to his rule.
Inside the Qubba Palace (photo: yamamahmag)
The palace remains one of the greatest and most important guest houses in Egypt. US President Barack Obama stayed in the palace during his visit to Cairo in 2009.