The Egyptian government on Sunday presented to the media the ongoing restoration works of the Baron Empain Palace in Cairo, which are the subject of virulent criticism on social networks.
This palace, located in the upscale neighborhood of Heliopolis in the east of the capital, was built in 1907 by the Belgian baron Edouard Empain.
Inspired by the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia, it combines Hindu and European architecture.
On the Internet, the only expression space for government critics, the Egyptians mocked the work done with white and red-brick paints judged to be of poor quality and not in keeping with the original spirit of the building.
"Who is the idiot behind the restoration of the palaces of Egypt? Our heritage is destroyed in a systematic way," blasted a user on Twitter.
"You literally demolish our monuments," denounced Facebook a group of users on a page called "Egyptian historians".
Minister of Antiquities Khaled el-Enany defended himself by calling online critics "false information".
"The restoration is a real dream and we are going to breathe life into this abandoned monument," he said to the media.
"The colors are correct and are based on historical sources," said General Hicham Samir, in charge of engineering and heritage restoration projects in Cairo at the Ministry of Antiquities.
The work is supervised by the Armed Forces Engineering Authority, according to a ministry statement.
In Egypt, powerful military institutions are involved in many infrastructure projects in various fields.
General Samir added that the palace would be open to the public "early next year".
According to the ministry, the cost of works, started in July 2017 and carried out in cooperation with the Belgian government, amounts to 100 million Egyptian pounds (5.4 million euros).
Like many other historic buildings, the Palace of Baron Empain, architectural masterpiece surrounded by lush gardens and palm trees, was in a state of serious disrepair.
Egypt has often been criticized by the experts for its negligence and lack of rigor in the preservation of its heritage.
In recent years, the government has regularly exhibited various restoration works in order to boost tourism, a key sector of the economy, which has been stalled in recent years due to political instability and the recurrence of attacks.
© 2019 AFP