Alexandria's Antoniadis Garden undergoing a comprehensive renovation: Park director

Ahram Online , Monday 29 Aug 2022

The Antoniadis Garden in Alexandria is undergoing a comprehensive renovation befitting its cultural and tourism value, the park director Badria Hassan said on Monday, amid widespread controversy about the ongoing development plan.

Alexandria s Antoniadis Garden
Alexandria s Antoniadis Garden

 

Hassan denied rumours on social media that the gardens’ trees were being cut down, offering assurances that they were only being pruned.

Many Facebook users shared a post titled "Sad news from Alexandria, the demolition of Antoniadis Park and the cutting down of the rare trees it contains," which criticised the development plan.

Hassan defended the renovation plan, explaining that the whole park will be renewed, especially parts – like walls – that have been worn by time, all while preserving history of the garden and its characteristics.

Moreover, she confirmed to media outlets that none of the park or palace features will be changed and that it will be fully opened to the public again once the development work is completed.

Managed by the Agricultural Research Centre since 1986, the 69-acre gardens have suffered from neglect, particularly from poor irrigation of its green areas

In the 19th century, the Antoniadis Gardens were owned by a rich Greek citizen and then by Mohamed Ali Pasha, Egypt’s ruler at the time. In 1860, the gardens changed hands, and John Antoniadis, another Greek, became the owner. After his death, the gardens passed to the Alexandria Town Council.

Since 1952, the Antoniadis Gardens have welcomed the public, who have enjoyed the greenery, as well as the rare collection of marble statues, including of European explorers Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama. The gardens have been a favourite spot for families, friends and school trips.

A few years ago, the Alexandria and Mediterranean Research Centre developed a renovation project to preserve the Antoniadis Palace and Gardens as a source of enrichment and pleasure to future generations. The aim was for the palace to host some of the events of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and serve as a centre for scholarship on Alexandria and a space for exchange and dialogue.

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