Topic: Egypt - Heliopolis
Heliopolis itself was the product of a grand project with concepts that were well before its time. A syndicate of Belgians established the suburb in an effort to rival the more famous Monaco and its casino Monte Carlo.
Map of Heliopolis
Like its Monte Carlo inspiration, the Heliopolis Casino was designed to be the centrepiece of their project. Although thinking that a licence was a done deal before undertaking their works, the Egyptian government officials overseeing their end of the project awaited until the near completion of the project to ask for the additional fees associated with the granting a of casino licence. Sadly, by this stage the syndicate had expended all its capital and they were not able to raise the funds necessary for the final bribe to get a casino licence, so the area languished.
The main boulevard at Heliopolis
Apart from the racecourse, there was 'The Palace' hotel, reputably the second largest hotel in the world boasting some 1700 world class rooms. The hotel complex housed a Casino, modern shops, restaurants and a fun park known as Luna Park, which was also home to a novel ice-skating rink, a fashionable spot for children of the Cairo elite.
Luna Park Ice Skating Rink
When war broke out The Palace Hotel and Casino were taken over and used as a Military Hospital, thus saving the Belgium syndicate from total ruin. After the Gallipoli operations, the military hospital took over the skating rink for less serious cases. It took little time for the hospital to fill with men suffering from pneumonia, broken limbs, eye and ear troubles, and various other complaints.