Until recently, many pedestrians and motorists passing through the bustling Opera Square in central Cairo were not aware that the area boasts a 19th century architectural gem.
Built in the 1860s, the Continental Hotel overlooks three main streets in the Opera Square, once named after the Cairo Opera House that was gutted in a major fi re in 1971. The hotel stands opposite the famed Azbakiya Botanical Garden set up in 1872 on a stretch of 18 acres. It was the venue of the declaration of Egypt’s independence from Britain in 1922. King Farouk, Egypt’s last monarch, used to come to the hotel and enjoy the panoramic view of the area from the terrace. After falling in decline and going out of business since the early 1990s, the hotel drew public attention only December 2016 after Cairo authorities unveiled a plan to pull it down in order to make room for a new hotel and a glitzy shopping mall.