Worth visiting if you’re in the area, Abdeen Palace has a remarkable story. It is partially open to visitors as a military museum that also displays a rather tedious assortment of gifts to various Egyptian presidents. Enter the museum at the back (east) side.
Begun in 1863, the palace was a centrepiece of Khedive Ismail’s plan for a modern Cairo, inspired by Paris’ then-recent makeover; the khedive even called in mastermind French planner Baron Haussmann as a consultant. He wanted the palace finished for the 1869 opening of the Suez Canal, to impress visiting dignitaries, but its 500 rooms weren’t completed until 1874. It was the royal residence until the monarchy was abolished in 1952.