Al Manasterly Palace on Al Rawda Island
The Site: Al Manasterly palace is situated in the south western corner at the end of Al Rawda island. It is the remaining part of a development built by Hassan Fouad Al Manasterly Pasha 1851 A.D./267A.H.. His mosque where he is buried is situated near the palace. On the left side stands the Nilometer that dates back to 861A.D./247A.H. in the reign of Caliph Al-Mutawakkil `Ala Allah Al Abbasi, bestowing more beauty and significance on the place.
The Palace owner: Hassan Fouad Pasha Al Manasterly. His name is a derivative of the city of Monastir in Macedonia near the Bulgarian borders. Hassan Pasha was Egypt Katakhda in the reign of Abbas Helmi He became Cairo’s governor in 1854 A.D., representative in the Ministry of Interior and then supervisor of the Ministry of Interior.
The palace and the Nilometer
Architectural description: The palace consists of a main rectangular hall 12mx
24,40mthat directly opens to the outside through a door in the southeastern wall preceded by a four-step marble case. The terrace covers the northeastern and the southwestern sides. The palace’s present main gate is located in the northwestern side. The second hall is located to the west of the main hall. It has been divided into three halls. Northern to this hall lies a rectangular room. Southern to the same hall there is a bathroom and another rectangular room. A terrace overlooking the Nile surrounds the building from the west and intersects in the end with the southwestern terrace.
The ceilings: The palace is hailed for its splendid ornamented ceilings of various wooden architecture designs: leveled ceilings, dome or semi-dome ceilings. The ceilings are internally covered with plaster and garnished with colored ornaments. Dried plastic has been used to produce different greenery shapes. The terraces surfaces have been covered in the same way. All ceilings have been isolated to protect them from rain.
The Palace’s floor: A 35m high quadratic marble has been used for the floor of the two halls, the room southern to the second hall, the terraces and the bathroom. Parquet floor is fitted onto the two rooms lying in the palace’s north-western front.
The ornaments: The walls and ceilings of the palace are garnished with colored greenery ornaments and some birds figures. The influence of the Ottoman rococo is quite obtrusive especially in the buildings of that period which is a European impact. Moreover the Pharonic impact is highly discernible in the Corniche at the external fronts of the palace.