World Exhibition Paris 1878

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May 1, 1878 - October 31, 1878

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Egypt at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1878

The Egyptian pavilion stands behind the Swedish and Norwegian buildings in the Trocadero park, not far from the Porte Delessert. It is a Cairo house, a typical Egyptian house, very simple, in that style popularised by painting and drawing, of which a detailed description would be quite useless. Inside, it is composed of two distinct parts. The first is devoted to the products and monuments of modern Egypt; the second, which is the more important, contains the magnificent collections of antiquities, the treasures of art in which Egypt is so rich.

The walls of this gallery are covered with the skins of lions and other great African beasts, and decorated with trophies of weapons, musical instruments and other objects of ancient and crude manufacture, but very curious. There is a huge carousel showing the principal explorations of Africa; lines drawn in different colours indicate the route taken by the various travellers, and close by are the portraits of Cameron, Livingstone and Stanley. Two other pictures give a not very encouraging idea of the ferocious manners of the negro races in the interior of Africa, and of the ingenious variety which they know how to bring to bear in the exercise of their cruelties. It is therefore with a feeling of deliverance that, after contemplating at leisure these representations of familiar scenes, one arrives at the section of this pavilion where everything speaks in such eloquent terms of the progress of civilisation in Egypt, as in the room devoted to the history and geography of the Suez Canal.

The route of the canal is shown on a huge map which covers the whole surface of the wall; the position of the cities of Alexandria, Damietta, Rosetta, Cairo is carefully indicated on this map, as well as the course of the Nile. A large panorama in relief of the canal and the lands belonging to the Suez Company on both banks is placed on a table which extends from one end of the room to the other. It shows sailing and steam ships arriving from the Mediterranean at Port Said, entering the canal, passing Ismaila, crossing Lake Timsah and, leaving the Serapium on the right, continuing on to Suez, and finally entering the Red Sea. These plans and maps are masterpieces of precision and accuracy.

To this palace, which contains, as we see, an exhibition of uncommon interest, is annexed a bazaar where carpets and fabrics of great wealth are sold, as well as embroidered or sequined babouches, narghiles and chiboucks, and finally the abundant, bawdy and varied contingent of the inevitable trinkets which make the glory and the fortune of the African and Oriental bazaars, especially those of the Trocadero.

©L'Exposition Universelle 1878