Prince Mohammad Ali Tewfik, was a central figure in Egypt’s re-discovery of its Islamic and Arabian architectural heritage. The construction of his palace, the ‘Manial Palace’, built on the Island of Roda, in Cairo was the starting point of the movement of revival of Arabian architecture in the last century. The architects the Prince employed were Arabs who had completed their education in Europe and the calligraphers who contributed to the decoration of the buildings were chosen from amongst the best in the country.
The inspiration is likely to have come to the Prince during his travels, therefore drawing him to replicate what he had seen in other ancient Arabian palaces. He followed the model of a royal palace developing around a mosque, which should be at the very heart of the whole structure.
Dr Sami de Giosa is a Fellow at the Khalili Research Centre, University of Oxford
Held jointly with the MBI Al Jaber Foundation.