Reviving Qena’s Forgotten Heritage: A Glimpse into Prince Youssef Kamal’s Palace at Naj’ Ḥammādī Mohamed Faisal, Doaa Kandil and Rania Ali Maher

Document Type : Academic peer-reviewed articles


The magnificent palace of Prince Youssef Kamal in Naj’ Ḥammādī represents a unique architectural masterpiece, with its wonderful location on the Nile and its unique architectural style.  The palace lived through many years of neglect, destruction and loss of contents, as well as its re-use by many government institutions resulting in the loss of many of its archaeological features. After several attempts to preserve its identity, a large budget was allocated for its restoration, and on September 29, 2019, the palace regained its original form and reopened to visitors. In this paper, the author aims to discover the history of the palace and highlight its archaeological and historical value since its construction.  Furthermore, it sheds light on the restoration works through an analytical description of the palace constructions.  The author made a field visit to the palace to inspect its architectural components after the restoration, proposing some ideas to revitalize the palace in terms of tourism and culture.


Prince Youssef Kamal’s Palace is one of the most unique palaces in Egypt in general, and in southern Egypt in particular, due to its magnificent location on the Nile and its unique architectural style.  The palace was built by Prince Youssef Kamal, one of the princes of Muhammad Ali Pasha family, in the city of Naj’ Ḥammādī (north of Qena Governorate), in 1925. The palace is of great historical and archaeological importance, embracing many distinct events and personalities, as well as the unique architectural style that was a combination of the Islamic and European style which prevailed at that time. The palace went through desperate years of neglect and destruction after being abandoned by the prince and his family, until the hand of restoration, which its original forms.  The palace is also called the architectural complex due to the multiplicity of the palace constructions that varied between accommodation units, service units and others for different purposes.  The palace is located on the west bank of the Nile River in Naj’ Ḥammādī1 , which is one of the most famous and largest cities in Qena Governorate and southern Egypt.  The complex extended over an area of about 10 acres2 , bordered on the north side by Port Sa ̔id Street, to the west by Sheikh ̔ Omran Street, to the east on the edge of the Nile (Corniche Street) and to the south by Al-Islah Al-Zar ̔ i Street.  Prince Youssef Kamal completed the construction of the architectural complex in 1925, where the palace appeared on