Egypt Cairo Heliopolis


Egypt Cairo Heliopolis


Cairo Heliopolis

Heliopolis is a suburb of Cairo, Egypt. Established in 1905 by the Heliopolis Oasis Company which was owned by Edouard Louis Joseph (Baron Empain), a Belgian industrialist, this district is now a major part of the capital city and the number of residents has doubled 1922.

Originally planned to be a city of “luxury and pleasure”, Heliopolis had wide avenues complete with necessary utilities such as water, drainage, electricity, and visitor accommodations such as the Heliopolis House and Palace Hotel.


There were even recreational facilities such as a racetrack, golf course, and park. Houses for rent (which were presented in a variety of designs targeting different social classes) were available as well as apartments, tenement houses with balconies, and bungalows for the workers of the company.


With all this building and development was born a unique style of architecture called Heliopolis style. A successful mixture of Moorish facades, European plans, and Arabic sections, Heliopolis style implements the aesthetic and functional purpose of these three architectural styles.




The initial efforts using this style are remarkably well preserved in present-day Helipolis.But the actual abode of Baron Empain was not done in the Heliopolis style. Rather, it looked more like a Hindu palace (which it was meant to resemble) inspired by the Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the Orissa Hindu temples. Finished in 1910, it was designed by French architect, Alexander Marcel. The finest example of a building built entirely in concrete, the Baron Empain Palace (Qasr Al Baron) still stands today as a testimony to the creative use of this building material.

Aside from the Qasr Al Baron, there are many other buildings of note in Heliopolis namely, the Heliopolis War Cemetery which houses the Port Tewfik Memorial, a memorial to British Indian Army soldiers who died during WWI. The memorial had originally been located in Port Taufiq but was transferred to Heliopolis after it was destroyed in 1967.


Al-Ahram Street carries the distinction of being the location of the Basilique Catholic Church, the final resting place of Baron Empain. On Beirut Street there are also the St. Maron and Saint Rita Churches, on Al Missalah Street is a Jewish synagogue, and all over the city are a smattering of mosques, testifying to the religious freedom practiced in the city.

The residents of Heliopolis when it was first built were mostly foreigners and upeer-class Egyptians. After Nasser’s coup d’etat of 1952, middle class citizens started making their homes here.


With the expansion of the capital city, the line that separated Cairo from Heliopolis started to blur and the former became integral to the city.


Several of the original spacious gardens were built over as the population in the area increased. The Heliopolis Club, a reminder of the original purpose of Heliopolis, is one of the most decadent and luxurious sports clubs in the country.



Bigger and with more memberships is the El Shams Club. Other clubs include Heliolido, El-Ghaba, and El-Tayaran. Recreationa facilities in the district include the Merryland (originally a park with a lake) which now has a dolphin show, a number of signature fast food centers (such as TGIF), and a small amusement park.



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