Fodor's Expert Review Banque Misr
Colonial Cairo emulated the French, was run by the British, and was built largely by Italians. Yet for all that colonial layering, its profoundly Middle Eastern cultural origins always won out in the end. Nothing symbolizes this strange synthesis better than the buildings of the Italian architect Antoine Lasciac, who worked in Cairo from 1882 to 1936 and served as the chief architect of the khedivial palaces. Lasciac set out to reflect Egypt's emergent nationalism in a new architectural style by updating the Mamluk decorative work so typical of Islamic Cairo and grafting it onto the technical innovations of his era. The result can be seen in this, his best-preserved building, which dates from 1927. Its mosaics, sculptural work, and decorations all draw on a range of Middle Eastern influences, while the core of the building, in plan and scale, is distinctly Western.