An imposing palace that is considered a grandiose architectural masterpiece, a witness to its time and to the historical events it went through, it is the Saffron Palace, which was associated with the name of Khedive Ismail, built by the Italian architect Antonio Lashiak in 1901-1902 for the two princesses Jananiar Hanim and Jeshm Afat Hanim, the widows of Khedive Ismail, in memory of the deceased husband. The two co-wife commissioned the architect, Antonio Lashiak, to place decorative draws representing the monogram of Khedive Ismail, with the first letter of his name inside a botanical wreath consisting of two opposite branches in a circular shape topped by the royal crown with a crescent, as one of the royal emblems known to rulers and princes of the era of the era of Muhammad Ali family.
The Saffron Palace was built with limestone from two floors and basements, and the roof is occupied by a group of service rooms, the area of the basement is 1504 square meters, and the area of both the ground and first floors is 1377 square meters, and this palace opens to five entrances, two main on the northern and southern sides, and two sub-branches, in addition to an entrance that leads to the basement.
The palace was built under the influence of the Baroque style, and is distinguished by the various decorative elements, which included bouquets of roses and the branches of flowers scattered in the four facades of the palace, which was characterized by the accumulation of plant units, as well as in the prominent blocks of the façades, so it was crowded with decorative units consisting of branches of plants, fruits and flowers Scattered on the facades.As for the interior carvings, they are influenced by Baroque motifs and some features of the Rococo style, which is an extension of the Baroque art by intensifying floral patterns, such as the use of garlands formed from flowers, and the use of warm pastel colors, and this also appears in the metalwork, and the interior decorations of the palace combined the Gothic style that It is evident in the frequent use of stained glass with lead, and in the small towers on the façades.
The palace is characterized by optimal symmetry in the layout of the palace, between the parts of the facade, the use of the large oval staircase, which is the most prominent architectural element in the large lobby, and the flooring with parquet wood in the system of the sevenths and eighties, in addition to the use of columns in front of the lobes, which is what appears in the hallways of the first and second floors As well as the decorative richness in the interior, especially the decorations executed in the format system for which the Baroque and Rococo buildings are famous, and the stucco decoration is covered in golden and silver colors.
Opinions differed about the name of the Saffron palace, and all that was mentioned may be just repeated opinions. It was reported that the mother Pasha Hoshiar Hanim had a strange disease, and the doctors advised her to resort to a quiet residence surrounded by saffron plants, so Ismail Pasha built this palace, and it was also mentioned that the area in which he built was famous for the growth of the saffron plant known for its beauty of its yellow color and its high price, and the correct opinion may be, That the palace took its name from the place, which was characterized by the presence of large areas planted with saffron plants. After the death of the two princesses, and Sultan Ahmed Fouad's purchase of the palace, he agreed in 1921 to replace a new secondary school in it, and named it the Sultan Fouad School, then the Egyptian University replaced the school in 1925, then the Ministry of Foreign Affairs bought it in 1930, and turned it into a guesthouse for VIPs. The Saffron Palace witnessed the Egyptian-British negotiations known as the Treaty of 1936, the approval and signing of the Arab League Charter in 1945, and the Egyptian-British evacuation negotiations in 1946, in addition to being an incubator for many private parties.
In 1950, King Farouk issued a decision to establish the Great Ibrahim Pasha University, and Dr. Taha Hussein, Minister of Education at that time, adopted the project to establish the university, and there were 8 scattered faculties in it, and then the Ministry of Works site selection committee agreed in 1951 to allocate a plot of land with an area of 196 acres of government property to be A site for building the new faculties of the university, and in 1952 Major General Muhammad Naguib gifted the Saffron Palace to Ibrahim Pasha University, so the administration of the new university moved to it, then the Saffron Palace was added to the university’s buildings, and in 1954 its name was changed to “Heliopolis,” and then in the same year it changed to “Ain Shams". The university began to expand by building the campus around the Saffron Palace in 1962, and new buildings were constructed, and decisions to establish the university's faculties began one after the other until the number became 17 faculties and one higher institute. Read more about the Saffron Palace and the emergence of Ain Shams University from here...