The opulent Manial Palace is a real Cairo hidden gem packed with ornate interiors, curiosities and lush gardens.
This opulent palace built by a 20th-century prince boasts dozens of sumptuous rooms – and wonderful gardens filled with rare and exotic plants.
Built by Prince Mohamed Ali from 1901 and 1929, the palace offers a rare view of the lifestyle of a 20th-century Egyptian prince. The architecture is a fascinating blend of Art Nouveau, Rococo and Islamic influences like Persian, Moorish and Ottoman.
The rooms are packed with Orientalist paintings, furniture, textiles, silver, objects d’art and stunning ceramic tiles. All these treasures were collected by the prince around the globe.
Built as a pleasure playground, the palace once hosted lectures, poetry readings and private recitals by house guests like Camille Saint-Saens. Guests feasted on dainty French pastries and Turkish Delight.
Don’t miss the Blue Salon with its leather sofas and striking blue tiles and Orientalist paintings. Head to the Throne Hall for some over-the-top gold styling – all built by the prince who never actually ascended the throne (a revolution thwarted his plans).
And there’s plenty more to explore around the palace grounds. Stroll to find the Moroccan-inspired clock tower and the palace mosque with its rococo-inspired ceiling.
There’s also a hunting museum with the prince’s vintage butterfly collection.
But the gardens are the real delight – a lush green oasis of serenity amid the noisy traffic of Rhoda Island. The gardens are inspired by Persian and English landscapes. And they include jasmine, gargantuan trees, Mexican cacti and rare tropical plants collected by the prince.
With its blend of wonderful nature and palatial architecture, Manial Palace is an underrated hidden gem that’s finally open to the public after restorations.
Need to know:
Tickets: 100 EGP per adult and 50 EGP for students. There’s an additional 50-pound ticket if you’re bringing a camera.