With its distinguished early 20th century architectural style stands the Royal Carriage Museum in Boulaq. After years of closure the museum will open its doors to visitors to admire the exquisite royal carriages of members of the Mohamed Ali family.
Restoration and development work at the museum is in full swing to meet the deadline for reopening in December.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany embarked on an inspection tour to check the work underway. Some 80 percent of the work has been completed and the museum edifice is now ready to host the royal carriages.
Waad Abul-Ela, head of the projects sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, explains that the museum building, which was in a very poor condition of preservation, was rehabilitated, the walls and foundations consolidated, and facades and decorative elements restored. New lighting and security systems were installed.
The restoration work was started in 2001 but was halted. The work resumed in 2017.
Nevine Nizar, assistant to the minister of antiquities for museum affairs, said the museum would put on show a collection of royal carriages along with accessories and clothes of the horse guards. The items will be distributed across five halls. The first will exhibit the chariot that French Empress Eugenie gifted to Khedive Ismail on the occasion of the official opening of the Suez Canal, while the second hall will display rare types of chariots known as Alay and Half-Alay.
Nizar said the third hall is the main core of the museum and will display ceremonial chariots that were used by royal family members in wedding and funerary occasions, and for promenades. Painted portraits depicting members of the royal family will be also exhibited.
The fourth hall will be dedicated to the uniforms of chevaliers and horse riders, while the fifth and last hall will show accessories used to decorate the chariots and horses, such as the horseshoes, bridles and saddles.
The museum was established during the reign of Khedive Ismail. At first it was called the Department of the Khedive Carriages. Then the name was modified to the Management of the Royal Stables. After the 1952 revolution, the building was named the Royal Carriages Museum.
The museum was originally created not only to display royal carriages, but also horses of the Khedive Ismail and those owned by members of the royal family.
Experts and veterinarians were brought from across the world to take care of the horses. Valuable cars from world-class brands like Citroen, Ford and Cadillac were also exhibited.
In 1969, Cairo governorate took around three quarters of the museum and transformed it into a garage.