After two years of restorations and developments to turn it into a cultural centre and hub, the Princess Khadija Palace in Helwan is now officially open for visitors..
Princess Khadija was the daughter of khedive Tawfiq of Egypt, who was the sixth ruler from the Mohammed Ali Dynasty. The Palace was built in 1895 and Princess Khadija lived in it from then until 1902 when she donated it to a clinic for chest illnesses.
Khadija’s Palace is to be a centre of culture and enlightenment to people of different ages and backgrounds. The centre is going to be part of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s (BA) Cultural Outreach Sector, joining other such efforts that were initiated outside of Alexandria, such as Sinnary House in Cairo and the Centre for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage in Smart Village.
Dr. Mostafa Elfeki, Director of the BA, said at the opening event on Sunday, that they first considered redeveloping the Palace as a religious museum but after conducting research of the area realised that it would be more beneficial as a local cultural centre to support the arts. He also urged everyone attending the opening to give their wholehearted support to the centre and to consider it an important cultural hub in Helwan.
The centre includes a central library, a cinema, an information and media hall, art exhibition spaces for both permanent and temporary collections as well as a writing centre. The Palace and its activities will fall under the auspices of the BA, which will provide the funding for all activities taking place within it.
The launch ceremony included the opening of the Children and Young People Library, The Journey of Writing in Egypt exhibition, The Helwan Exhibition for Handicrafts, The Exhibition of Arabic Calligraphy, and the Wonders of Science exhibition for children.