At the southern tip of Roda Island stands Manial Palace, an exquisite example of early 20th century architecture.
Built in 1901 by Prince Mohamed Ali, the son of Khedive Tawfiq, it was an attempt to revive the Islamic architectural style in opposition to the European style commonly adopted for the royal family's palaces.
Some 50 labourers, archaeologists and cultivation experts are hard at work to meet the deadline. The official reopening is in mid-February after ten years of restoration.
In 2005, the Ministry of Antiquities started restoration work on the palace, which includes removing of the encroachments made on the palace gardens since early 1960s by the Egyptian General Organisation for Tourism and Hotels (EGOTH) which transformed the palace garden into a hotel.
It also includes the consolidation and re-erection of the gypsum false ceiling, constructed in 1945 to reduce the weighting load of the large copper chandelier on the original ceiling of the throne hall. This ceiling collapsed in 2004.
Fine restoration work to all decorative elements at the palace has been also executed as well as the development of the palace's galleries, laboratories and garden.
Today, Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty embarked on an inspection tour around the palace to check upon the work being achieved and to solve any problems that could stand against the palace official opening.
During the tour Eldamaty told Ahram Online that the palace regained its original look and it would be open in mid-February which coincide with the centennial of Khedive Abbas Helmy II's leaving Egypt's throne.
During the opening ceremony, said Eldamaty, a lecture is to be held about Khedive Abbas Helmy II in an attempt to honour his efforts to develop Egypt because during his reign he ordered the construction of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria and the Museum of Islamic Arts in Babul Khalq in downtown Cairo.
Manial Palace is a huge palace with a rare botanical garden, exquisite halls and several detached buildings, all bearing a blend of Fatimid and Mameluke styles tinged with Ottoman elements, and drawing also on Persian, Andalusian, Syrian, and Moroccan taste.
The golden hall