Monday, July 2, 2012

Montazah Palace, Alexandria Egypt


Much of my newest novel takes place in an abandoned Egyptian palace I've named High Lake Palace. The inspiration for the setting comes from a beautiful palace I saw when I lived in Alexandria, called Montazah Palace. It sits on the coast, surrounded by acres of gardens and with a view of the sea.


Alexandria is a place where Egyptians go to get away from the heat of Cairo in the summer. In my book, King Farouk (1920-1965) built High Lake Palace to have a more private vacation home in the desert with a lake filled by spring water. (There are lots of natural springs in Egypt.) Above is King Farouk having dinner at Montazah Palace.


If you ever visit Alexandria, go to the Montazah Gardens, which are open to the public, and enjoy the lovely view and scenery.


23 comments:

Medeia Sharif said...

What a lovely place. I remember someone who went there told me about the city's beauty. Thanks for sharing these pictures. I'd love to go one day.

Kelly Hashway said...

Wow, simply gorgeous! I'd love to go there and see that in person.

Jessie Harrell said...

Thanks for sharing all the sights of Egypt. I love it!

Sarah Negovetich said...

Looks like a great place to tell a story. I'm a sucker for exotic locations. :)

nutschell said...

those are some great pictures. and the setting for your new story sounds so mysterious:)
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Kim Lajevardi said...

What a fantastic setting! I can picture so many life events unfolding in the spaces of such a magnificent place, and for horror writers such as yourself I can picture so many potential nooks and crannies for creatures to hide.

Kate Larkindale said...

What a beautiful building! And you must have done a fantastic job describing it, because apart from the big tower at one end, that's almost exactly what I imagined the palace looking like when I read the book!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

That is gorgeous. I have some cards my brother sent back from Egypt when he was stationed there during WWII. They have camels, of course. He also met his wife in Egypt and their first child was born there. It sounds like a fascinating country and a lovely setting for a story.

SA Larsenッ said...

Gorgeous inspiration!!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Hi. Thanks for visiting my blog and for signing on as a follower. It's a pleasure to return the favor. Really. I'm excited at the prospect of learning more about Egypt, and straight from the horse's ... er, camel's mouth, too. So to speak. Count me in as your newest groupie. Nice to meetcha.

Laura Eno said...

Egypt has been on my list of places to see for many years! What a beautiful setting for a novel. Thanks for visiting my blog!

David P. King said...

I so would like to visit Alexandria. What an awesome inspiration for writing. I'm glad I stumbled onto your blog! :)

tfwalsh said...

The palace looks fantastic... I could picture his in your story:) Great setting.

Candilynn Fite said...

I would love to visit the Gardens sometime. Whenever I travel, those are one of my hotspots. :)

cleemckenzie said...

I love that you're using this as the setting for your story. I already want to explore the grounds and the interior. Hope you're writing fast! :-)

Catherine Stine said...

How very cool!!!

mshatch said...

how pretty the palace looks at night!

Nadja Notariani said...

Wonderful images, Lexa. Love your setting for your novel. The Near East/North Africa is such a beautiful area, rugged and romantic. I've a novel/novella in the wings that will be set in the rocky deserts of ancient Lebanon, so I'll be trolling your site for images and such. It's great to meet you! I see you are also a member of IWSG and look forward to following.

Becky Wallace said...

Wow! I had no idea how detailed it was. Gorgeous!

Richard Thethird said...

There are actually two palaces inside Montazah ("h" at the end!). This is the main palace, called el Haramlek by the locals. The other is now a hotel, called el Salamlek (the Summer Palace). The hotel you refer to as "abandoned" is not. Quite the opposite, a great deal of money is spent on its upkeep. All that fancy masonry work was done by Italian craftsmen back in Farouk's time, and it requires regular maintenance. The reason it looks abandoned is that it's closed to the public and has been ever since Mubarak came into power. I have a photograph of my wife, as a toddler, sitting inside the fence that surrounds it, when it was open to the public many years ago. I lived across from Montazah in one of those six Sheraton Tower condos for four years, and I spent many, many hours inside Montazah walking around, taking photos. It was really the only place in Alex I felt comfortable.

Lexa Cain said...

Hi Richard! Thanks for commenting. The palace I referred to as "abandoned" was High Lake Palace, a fictional palace in my book. I agree with you about the lovely grounds of Montazah Gardens. It's like a western park and very beautiful and calming. (I asked my Egyptian husband about your spelling vs the one I got from Wikipedia, and he says there should indeed be an "h" at the end. In my defense, English spellings of Arabic are hard. LOL!)

Richard Thethird said...

Yes, that's true (English spelling). The Fathalla grocery store right across the street from Montazah has no "h" after it, for example. About the names of those buildings, I double-checked with my wife and even she seems uncertain of them now. That building next to the casino that I assumed is also a palace (it has hotel rooms in it dating back to Farouk's time that you can stay in), she now calls "just a hotel". Good thing I took thousands of photos in there, it's doubtful I'll ever go back.

Lexa Cain said...

Richard - Yeah, I'm sure I had dinner in a restaurant in the park, but for the life of me I can't remember the name. I'm starting to think it wasn't on the grounds at all, yet I'm sure it wasn't in one of the big hotels. Ahh, it's hard getting old. LOL!

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