Egypt reopened to the public its long-dormant Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis on Tuesday, one day after it was officially inaugurated by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi following the completion of its first-ever restoration.
The palace, which has long been rumoured to be haunted and used as a site for satanic rituals, is designated as a tourist destination as well as a historical exhibition on the history of the upscale Heliopolis neighbourhood.
The restoration work on the mansion, originally built in 1911, was carried out in collaboration with the Armed Forces Engineering Authority and the Arab Contractors Company on a budget of more than EGP 100 million.
The palace is opening its doors to visitors from 9 am to 6 pm for two weeks in celebration of the inauguration, with a maximum capacity of 10 visitors allowed in each hall at any one time and 15 visitors allowed on the roof.
The tour inside the palace takes 45 minutes, and the tourism and antiquities minister has set a maximum limit of 900 tickets (100 visitors a day) sold daily until mid-July, after which the limit will be set at 700.
The palace entry ticket costs EGP 100 for foreign visitors, EGP 50 for foreign students, EGP 20 for Egyptians, and EGP 10 for Egyptian students. The ticket allows visitors to enter the palace, its gardens, and a tram that is on display.
A ticket to visit the roof costs EGP 50 for foreign visitors and EGP 20 for Egyptians.
The official reopening comes as Egypt braces for a gradual resumption of regular international flights at all its airports starting 1 July.
Foreign tourists will only be allowed into three coastal governorates as part of tour groups, which aims to make up for the losses the vital sector has suffered amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Egypt hopes that the resumption of regular flights starting next month will boost its ailing tourism sector, an essential source of foreign currency.