Aisha Fahmy Palace

Top choice arts centre in Cairo

Image by Karima Hassan Ragab Lonely Planet

Shuttered for years, the Aisha Fahmy Palace was built in 1907 for Egyptian aristocrat Ali Fahmy, who was King Farouk's army chief. Reopened as an arts centre in mid-2017, the sublime rococo interior of silk-clad and frescoed walls, carved-wood fireplaces, painted lacquerwork and a wonderful triple-arched stained-glass window overlooking the grand staircase has all been fabulously restored to finery. The mansion's grand salons are now to be used as a gallery, with a program of temporary exhibitions.

When we were last in town the palace had only just been reopened, and there seemed to be some confusion over whether the house would be open to the public all the time or only when an art exhibition was showing. Exhibitions are advertised on the fence outside. The entry gate is just off Sharia 26th of July. You'll need to leave your passport with the gate-security policeman for entry.