Baron Empain chose the site at the beginning of the twentieth century in agreement with Boghos Nubar Pasha. Both men agreed that the site was perfect for Baron Empain’s city of dreams, which he sought to build east of Cairo and overlooking the old city, specifically near Matariyya. This vision was one of the most successful architectural executions witnessed by the twentieth century. This vision turned the desert into a lively neighborhood fully furnished with services and encompassing different groups of society.
Heliopolis was also the crucible of several new and innovative architectural styles, which merged the Islamic designs with the Hindu and European aesthetics. Baron Empain’s palace, which took five years to complete(1907 to 1911), is a testimony to this diversity, as its French architect, Alexander Marcel, was inspired by Cambodian temples.
The beautiful city of Heliopolis was designed not only designed to revive Egypt’s rich Islamic heritage. Rather, Baron Empain and Boghus Nubar had the intention of creating a global, comprehensive city, which included Muslim, Christian, and Jewish sites.