The Winter Palace hotel, centenary witness to the discovery of Tutankhamun

Shady Roshdy|

Luxor (Egypt) (EFE).- Silent and exceptional witness of the presentation to the world of the greatest discovery in the history of Egyptology, the discovery of the intact tomb pharaoh Tutankhamun, the century-old Winter Palace hotel in Luxor still reflects the spirit of the golden and romantic age of fascination with Ancient Egypt.

The hotel, built in 1886, is just a short walk from the Luxor temple and was designed as the winter palace of the Khedive Tawfiq, who ruled Egypt from 1879 to 1892, to receive his nobility and other important guests, but over time it ended up becoming the home of archaeologists British and French who increasingly explored the region.

That atmosphere of luxury and colonial decadence that still persists in the sepia color of old photographs is in which the English Egyptologist Howard Carter took refuge to give to make known to the world a colossal discovery that had occurred on November 4, 1922.

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One of the entrances to the Winter Palace hotel, located in Luxor, where the Egyptologist Howard Carter announced a hundred years ago the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. EFE/Shady Roshdy

One of the entrances to the Winter Palace hotel, located in Luxor, where the Egyptologist Howard Carter announced One hundred years ago the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. EFE/Shady Roshdy

” One of the most important events at the hotel was the announcement of the most outstanding discovery in the world, the tomb of Tutankhamun”, summarizes EFE Wesam Farah, director of Customer Service of the lodging.

Bond with the pharaoh

During his presentation, Carter was accompanied by a photographer of the British Museum in London and took advantage of the hotel entrance to use it as a platform from which to announce the discovery, while journalists crowded in front of its facade located on the banks of the Nile.

Thus it was how the Winter Palace hotel was linked forever to the “child pharaoh”. Then, “after the discovery, Carter frequently stayed in the hotel in a room with a view of the Nile” even though he had a house on the other side of the river from Luxor city, Farah said.

The hotel was also the permanent residence of Lord Carnarvon, the English aristocrat whom Carter convinced to finance his obsession and make his fantasy come true: finding an intact Pharaonic tomb.

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The hotel’s English Victorian architecture clearly reveals the influence of English colonization at that time and its interiors are characterized by wonderful staircases and high ceilings decorated with beautiful floral ornaments.

The setting also served to host personalities from European and Middle Eastern royalty and public life for many years and, if Following with Carter, it hosted the meetings between the archaeologist and high officials of the Egyptian Government at the time regarding their excavations.

Own room

From one of the hotel corridors before a luxurious room, Farah recalled that the hotel commemorates the story of Carter and the discovery with the name of one of its luxury suites , where Carter spent his time.

There is also the Carnarvon suite, named after his daughter, Lady Evelyn, one of the first personalities to see Tutankhamun’s treasure.

The two rooms, which still maintain their old style with high ceilings, were renovated in 2006 to modernize them, while the hotel already underwent a deep and extensive restoration process in 1991.

The hotel that became a landmark of the lifestyle of the Egyptian upper class and European colonizers at the beginning of the 20th century, is now preparing for the centennial anniversary celebrations. nary of the discovery.

“The hotel’s team of architects designed a model of a large book that tells the story of the discovery along with the history of the construction of the hotel”, explains Farah.

In addition, he explained that the hotel, an Egyptian state property with three floors and 92 rooms, is ready to receive the high season of tourists who are going to celebrate the anniversary of the discovery.

To this day, the majority of the hotel’s residents are still English who enjoy the old-fashioned atmosphere of the hostel, which still contains royal furniture such as a rug given to the establishment by Queen Eugenia de Montijo, Napoleon’s Spanish wife III of France.

Web edition: Belén Mayo

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