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Cairo exhibit takes nostalgic look at arts, culture during monarchy

Paintings and other objects d’art currently on display in “Features of An Era," an exhibition at the Aisha Fahmy Palace in Cairo, originally decorated royal villas, which were nationalized in the 20th century after the monarchy's overthrow.

CAIRO — Art lovers and Egyptian history buffs interested in the country's monarchical period or social history are in for a treat at the Italianate Aisha Fahmy Palace, built in 1907 in Zamalek. The palace currently hosts the exhibition “Features of an Era,” which takes a look at the family that once ruled Egypt in displays of portraiture, sculpture and photography not viewed by the public since the 1952 Free Officers coup that toppled the monarchy. Some 150 objects and images from the time of Mohammed Ali to King Farouk document the aspirations and aesthetics of 150 years of monarchial rule and signal a shift in contemporary attitudes in republican Egypt toward it.

“Features of an Era,” which runs through March 27, unabashedly advances a view of khedival Cairo as a place where the country's rulers cultivated aesthetic values and promoted the Egyptian capital as a venue for and a patron of world-class artists. Verdi's Aida premiered down the street from the current exhibit, at Khedive Ismail’s Al-Gezira Palace, now the Cairo Marriott Hotel and Omar Khayyam Casino.

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