CAIRO – 20 April 2022: Baron Empain carried out one of the most successful urban experiments in the early 20th century. He was able to transform the desert into a vibrant suburb with integrated services, and include in it all the classes of the Egyptian society.
Heliopolis, the suburb created by Baron Empain, was also a melting pot of many new and innovative architectural styles, which combined the Islamic style with the Hindu and European styles. The Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis, which took 5 years to be completely constructed, is the largest witness to this diversity. The French architect Alexandre Marcel's design was inspired by the style of Cambodian temples.
The beautiful city of Heliopolis was not only designed as an innovative architectural and urban project that revives the rich Islamic heritage of Egypt in a new way, but its founders - Baron Empain and his partner Boghos Nubar Pasha - also saw the city as comprehensive and cosmopolitan, with sites revered by Muslims, Christians and Jews alike.
Baron Empain also thought about establishing a metro line in Heliopolis to attract the largest number of Egyptians to live in this new suburb. He commissioned the Belgian engineer Andre Berchloe, who was working at the time with the Paris Metro Company, to construct a metro line linking the new neighborhood to other locations around Cairo.
Moreover, Baron Empain loved Egypt so much and made a fateful decision to stay in the country until his death. He wrote in his will that he wants to be buried in Egypt if he dies in another country.
Baron Empain built his palace, the famed Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis, to be his permanent residence. The palace became one of the historical landmarks in Heliopolis.